FLORIDA ACLU ON FTAA - Mitch Perry06/03/04
A draft report by an investigative panel which is reviewing the actions of the Miami-Dade County Police Department during last NovemberÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Free Trade Area of the AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Conference, says that demonstrators who came to Miami to protest are due Ã¢â‚¬Å“heartfelt apologiesÃ¢â‚¬? because they were met by the equivalent of Ã¢â‚¬Å“martial lawÃ¢â‚¬?Ã¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ some cases, police reacted with an ''unrestrained and disproportionate use of force'' and
civil rights were trampled.''
Those are some of the s conclusions in a draft report by the Miami-Dade County Independent Review Panel, which is examining police conduct during the conference.
Kerry Koble is the Director of the Miami Branch of the ACLU. (roll tape#1 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?here in MiamiÃ¢â‚¬?)
The panel's main task was to focus on the actions of the Miami-Dade Police Department. But the county panel held a joint hearing with the city of Miami's Civilian Investigative Panel, which is reviewing the City of Miami Police Department's actions. Review panel members watched video of and examined reports from all law enforcement agencies involved.
Reportadley, County officers only fired off three pepper spray balls and one pepper spray canister during an incident outside a county jail on Friday, November 21st, the final day of protests.
Kerry Koble of the Miami ACLU says that the Miami-Dade Police Department was actually NOT that involved in many of the activities at the FTAA last yearÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.She says the Review of the Miami Police Department later this year is the one activists are interested in reviewing (roll tape#2 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?by the PoliceÃ¢â‚¬?)
Carlos Alvarez -- who was the Miami-Dade police director during the conference and has since resigned to run for county mayor -- said the report soundedmelodramatic.''
Neither the review panel nor Miami's civilian panel has enforcement power. But they can make recommendations for changes in policy.