University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name DOJ Investigation of City of Miami Police Department PN-FL-0008
Docket / Court docket unknown ( No Court )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Policing
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On July 9, 2013, the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) submitted a letter of findings of their investigation of the City of Miami Police Department (MPD). The investigation was to determine whether, in violation of the Violent Crime Control ... read more >
On July 9, 2013, the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) submitted a letter of findings of their investigation of the City of Miami Police Department (MPD). The investigation was to determine whether, in violation of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141, the MPD engaged in a pattern of excessive use of deadly force by firearms in violation of the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable seizures. The DOJ found reasonable cause to believe that this was the case.

The DOJ had previously investigated the MPD in 2002, and in response the MPD appeared to ameliorate its deficiencies, according to the press release issued by the DOJ. After the closure of the 2002 investigation, the DOJ's most recent investigation found many of the same problems were still present in the Department.

The evidence cited by the DOJ included a sharp increase in police officers shooting citizens. According to the DOJ, between 2008 and 2011, there were 33 shootings. In addition, the investigations of those shootings were not conducted in a timely manner, which meant that at least one police officer under investigation continued to shoot civilians in the course of their ongoing duties. The Department in their own internal investigations found at least three shootings to be unjustified. The DOJ suggested that tactical and training deficiencies were likely the cause of some of the unjustified shootings.

In February of 2016, the DOJ and MPD reached a agreement to improve these conditions. According to the DOJ website, an independent reviewer will monitor the terms of the agreement to ensure the MPD implements the following measures:

  • Enhanced supervision of first-line officers;
  • Enhanced training, including de-escalation training;
  • Improvements to internal investigations of officer-involved shootings;
  • A more stringent mechanism under which a shooting officer’s return to work is
    authorized;
  • A mechanism to ensure community participation in the monitoring process.

The city agreed to have full compliance with the agreement within one year of the agreement date. However, the city also agreed to continue to provide reports every four months to the DOJ indefinitely.

Amanda Kenner - 03/16/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Unreasonable search and seizure
Content of Injunction
Monitoring
Training
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Aggressive behavior
Excessive force
Incident/accident reporting & investigations
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Special Case Type
Out-of-court
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 14141
Defendant(s) City of Miami Police Department
Plaintiff Description The Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2016 - n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Data examining the Department of Justice's civil rights investigations of local and state police departments
Marshall Project
Date: Jan. 17, 2017
By: Tom Meagher (Marshall Project)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  The Civil Rights Division’s Pattern and Practice Police Reform Work: 1994-Present
https://www.justice.gov/
Date: Jan. 4, 2017
By: U.S. Department of Justice
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  An Interactive Guide to the Civil Rights Division’s Police Reforms
https://www.justice.gov/
Date: Jan. 4, 2017
By: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  What Happens When Police Are Forced to Reform?
Date: Nov. 13, 2015
By: Kimbriell Kelly, Sarah Childress and Steven Rich (Frontline/Post)
Citation: Washington Post (Nov. 13, 2015)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Federal Enforcement of Police Reform
Date: 2014
By: Stephen Rushin (University of Illinois College of Law, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program Faculty)
Citation: 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Summary of Findings and Conclusion
PN-FL-0008-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/24/2011
Source: U.S. Dep't of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Housing and Civil Enforcement
Correspondence Re: Investigation of City of Miami Police Department
PN-FL-0008-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 07/09/2013
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Justice Department Releases Investigative Findings on the City of Miami Police Department and Officer-involved Shootings
PN-FL-0008-0004.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 07/09/2013
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Investigación del Departamento de Policía de la Ciudad de Miami [Findings Letter (Spanish)]
PN-FL-0008-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/09/2013
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Envestigasyon Vil sou Depatman Lapolis Miami [Findings Letter (Creole)]
PN-FL-0008-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/09/2013
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Agreement Between the United States Department of Justice and the City of Miami Regarding the City of Miami Police Department
PN-FL-0008-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 03/10/2016
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Justice Department Reaches Agreement with the City of Miami and the Miami Police Department to Implement Reforms on Officer-Involved Shootings
PN-FL-0008-0005.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 08/16/2016
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
First Quarterly Report
PN-FL-0008-0006.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/01/2016
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Plaintiff's Lawyers Austin, Roy L. (District of Columbia)
PN-FL-0008-0004
Coon, Laura (District of Columbia)
PN-FL-0008-0002
Ferrer, Wilfredo A (Florida)
PN-FL-0008-0002 | PN-FL-0008-0004 | PN-FL-0008-0005
Gupta, Vanita (District of Columbia)
PN-FL-0008-0002 | PN-FL-0008-0005
Harrell-James, Veronica Vanessa (Florida)
PN-FL-0008-0002
Hart, Charles W. Jr. (District of Columbia)
PN-FL-0008-0002
Moossy, Robert J. (District of Columbia)
PN-FL-0008-0002
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)
PN-FL-0008-0001 | PN-FL-0008-0003 | PN-FL-0008-0008 | PN-FL-0008-0009
Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)
PN-FL-0008-0002
Trainor, Cathleen (District of Columbia)
PN-FL-0008-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Mendéz, Victoria (Florida)
PN-FL-0008-0002 | PN-FL-0008-0006

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