Special Miami police car for Black History Month brings backlash : NPR

The Black History Month-themed patrol car was unveiled Thursday in front of the city’s Black Police Precinct and Court Museum, which honors the first generation of Black law enforcement in Miami.

Miami Police Department

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Miami Police Department

The Black History Month-themed patrol car was unveiled Thursday in front of the city’s Black Police Precinct and Court Museum, which honors the first generation of Black law enforcement in Miami.

Miami Police Department

When Miami officials reveal a special police car in honor of Black History Month, it received loud cheers and applause. But the fanfare proved to be short-lived.

The newly designed cruiser has been criticized since its launch on Thursday, with critics calling it deafening and ill-timed given its brutal beating. Nichols Tire by police officers in Memphis, Tenn., last month. Others described it as an empty gesture intended to minimize the struggles of the Black community.

“Miami police cars missed the mark in celebrating Black history by mislabeling the continent,” Florida Representative Dotie Joseph, who serves parts of Miami, told NPR.

The cruiser was unveiled to the public – along with a Black History Month-themed badge – on Thursday in front of the city’s Black Police District and Court Museum. A few days before, another patrol car designed to celebrate Black history that was subject to backlash in Columbus, Ohio.

In Miami, this isn’t the first time law enforcement has created a themed cruiser. There have been special patrol cars produced for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Autism Awareness and Hispanic Heritage Month.

“In keeping with tradition, we’ve had a lot of officers and members come up to us and say ‘Hey, why don’t we have a Black history,’ ‘ Miami Police Sergeant. Stanley Jean-Poix spoke at a panel on Friday in response to the criticism.

He added that no taxes were sponsored for the cruiser and that it was instead paid for by the Miami Community Police Benevolent Association.

Artist says cruiser design is about unity and homage to Africa

Unlike typical Miami police cars, which are predominantly white with dark blue stripes and yellow lettering, this special edition is covered in black with red, yellow and green stripes – colors commonly known used to show solidarity across Africa.

The car is also adorned with four raised fists, the outline of the African continent and the words “Miami Police Support Black History Month”.

Lavish N Looney (Lump), the Miami-based artist who created the special design for the patrol car, says that unity and homage to Africa are the main themes in the work. art products. He said he went through several designs before finalizing a version, adding that earlier manuscripts featured images of Martin Luther King Jr. and former President Barack Obama.

Lump said he stood by the police vehicle despite some of the backlash it received.

“Two things can exist at the same time,” Lump told NPR. “There may still be a lot of work to be done between the police department and the civilian population while police officers and civilians come together to celebrate Black history.”

Lump said he grew up in a community where people were “not a fan of the police,” so he understands patrol cars can be scary. He hopes that this cruiser will be more accessible to community members.

Critics accuse the police department of looking at issues that really matter to the Black community

However, some see the city’s efforts as dishonest, claiming that they overlook real problems facing the Black community, such as the state Ban the Advanced Placement course on African American Studies in high schools.

“It’s unfortunate that that mistake can happen, but the Black community has bigger fish to fry,” said Joseph, the state legislator. “If any elected official claims to be a ‘friend’ of any Black person or the Black community at large, now is not the time to remain silent.”

Others on social media noted that the city had been silent over the death of Antwon Cooper, who was shot by Miami police in March. Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office speak it will not charge the officer involved in the shooting.

Patrol Vehicles Designed in Memory of Miami’s First Black Police Officers During the Age of Racism

Miami police officials said the cruiser had a specific message: It was to honor the city’s first Black officers, some of whom attended the launch this week.

“This is how we especially honor the first five officers in 1944 who endured injustice, prejudice, and resistance and still responded to the call,” Miami Police Chief Manny Morales said. on Friday.

Miami did not hire Black police officers until 1944. The first generation of Black police officers worked in a separate department. stationincluding a courtroom exclusively for Black judges.

At the time, the black officers were Only arrests are allowed Black civilians and no authority over white residents. It wasn’t until 1963 that Black law enforcement was finally integrated into the city’s main police headquarters and the area was abolished and later turned into a memorial museum. .

Lieutenant Ramon Carr said he understood some of the criticism surrounding the time, but defended the intentions behind the themed cruiser.

“This has nothing to do with disrespect, shame,” Carr said. “This was like a source of pride for us, and it still is.”

City Commissioner Christine King, who represents the area where the car was launched, told NPR she believes the car was designed in good faith, adding that it has been in production for more than a year. a year.

“The purpose is to honor our black police officers and their service. However, I understand that our country is in mourning and the launch is not timely,” King said. .


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