Did police use excessive force in containing distraught family members?
By Gregory W. Wright
Special to the NNPA from The Miami Times
The police still have no answers in the recent shooting of Brandon Walker, 25. But family and community members are incensed after grief turned into chaos when police fought with the victim’s distraught relatives who had rushed onto the crime scene.
Walker, had been shot multiple times and died on the sidewalk beside his bicycle in front of an Overtown apartment [2191 NW Third Ave.] a week ago Tuesday. But a video shot from a Total Traffic Network chopper showed that as his two brothers, Anthony and Antwan Walker, charged the crime scene assumedly to uncover their brother’s body, they were met with the blows of homicide detective Fernando Bosch and other City of Miami police officers intent on keeping the crime scene intact. In the end, even the victim’s mother, Vernita Mincey, was handcuffed and arrested, along with her sons, when she tried to lift the tarp to see her son’s body.
Activist Georgia Ayers says her phone has been ringing ever since with calls from Overtown residents that say they are angry and fed up. So, Ayers, 85, invited Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa to her home to discuss the situation and the possible community backlash. In their meeting, Orosa first cleared up earlier erroneous reports that Bosch’s actions had been cleared as justifiable by the Miami Police Department. Orosa explained that there was indeed an active Internal Affairs investigation currently underway into the incident.
“I can assure you that there will be a thorough investigation, and if the officer was wrong, he will be punished,” Orosa said. “I am not afraid to punish people — my record has shown that.”
But according to Priscilla Dames, chairperson of the Miami-Dade Black Affairs Advisory Board and a specialist in conflict resolution, the problem goes far beyond a punch thrown by one officer.
“There is disrespect for our Black males,” she said. “And I just don’t think the police handled the situation properly, especially in handcuffing and arresting the two brothers of the victim.”
Both men were subsequently charged with “battery on a police officer.”
And despite Orosa’s promise for a thorough investigation, Dames says, “We cannot continue to have investigation, after investigation, after investigation. At some point, there have to be repercussions.”
The Black Affairs Advisory Board has sent a letter to Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, requesting a meeting with the Commissioner, Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and Orosa to discuss the incident and potential damage to community relations.
Allegations have been made that Walker was in the area conducting illegal transactions. But his family vehemently denied such claims.
“People are losing focus because they are angry at the police,” Mincey said. “I’m going to go after the police officer, there’s no joke about that. For two days both of my sons were in jail. For right now, if you want to help us, help us by going to the police with any information you have about who shot and killed my son.”
Anthony Walker, a minister at New Jerusalem Primitive Baptist Church, who received several punches to the face from Bosch, said: “Don’t think that we’re sleeping on the situation, because we are not. But right now our focus is on working with the police to find the killer. A little information is better than no information. And for the record, Brandon wasn’t in Overtown to sell drugs. He was there to see his six-month-old son. His son was his heart.”
If you have any information regarding the murder of Brandon Walker, you may call the Miami Police Department, (305) 603-6640, or Crime-Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477). Callers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.
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