The report of the Miami Study Team
on Civil Disturbances in Miami, Florida
during the week of August 5, 1968
January 15, 1969
Submitted to the
National Commission on the Causes
and Prevention of Violence
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington, D.C. 20402 Price 50 cents
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Miami Study Team Staff ........................................... iv
Sum m ary .................................................. ... vii
1. The Local Background ............................................. 1
2. The Republican Convention ....................................... 5
3. The Black Rallies-Sunday through Wednesday, August 4 to 7 ............. 7
4. The Riot Starts-7 P.M. Wednesday, August 7 ........................... 11
5. The Politicians Arrive-8:15 P.M., Wednesday, August 7 ................... 13
6. The Politicians Fail to Arrive-8 A.M., Thursday, August 8 ................. 15
7. The Sheriff Takes Command-5 P.M., Thursday, August 8 ................. 17
8. The Central District-Thursday Night, August 8 ................ ......... 19
9. The Tensions Ease-Friday through Tuesday, August 9 through 13 ........... 21
10. General Observations ............................................. 25
MIAMI STUDY TEAM
Louis J. Hector and Paul L. E. Helliwell .......................... Co-Directors
Robert C. Josefsbergt and James W. Matthews ................... Associate Directors
M elville Dunn .................................................. Investigator
W ilkie Ferguson ................................................. Investigator
David Fincher ................................................... Investigator
Jerom e S. Reism an ............................................... Investigator
Jam es Sim m ons ................................................. Investigator
Ralph C. D atillio .....................................................Editor
Arden Doss, Jr. ..................................................... Editor
Mrs. Terry Cueto .......................................... Executive Secretary
This report on the civil disturbances in Miami, Florida, during the week of August 5,
1968, was prepared by the Miami Study Team at the direction of the National Commission
on the Causes and Prevention of Violence. The Miami Study Team was asked to prepare a
narrative account of the Miami disturbances, an analysis of the causes including any local
events during the previous year which had a significant influence on the disturbances, the
effect if any of the Republican National Convention then taking place at Miami Beach, and
the effect of the presence of mass communications media at the scene of the disturbances.
Our report concentrates more on local conditions, the events preceding the riots and
police actions, than on the details of the actual rioting. The looting and burning in Miami
was little different from looting and burning in recent black disturbances elsewhere in the
United States. We have tried to focus on matters which may be atypical and particular to
the Miami disturbances.
To assist in the preparation of this report, the Co-Directors retained the services of
Robert C. Josefsberg, Esq., and James W. Matthews, Esq., both local Miami lawyers in pri-
vate practice, one white and one black, both of whom have recently served as Assistant
United States Attorneys in the Southern District of Florida. To Mr. Josefsberg and Mr.
Matthews fell the task of recruiting and supervising the investigative team, analyzing the in-
formation which was developed, and assisting the Co-Directors in the organization and sum-
marization of the material into meaningful form.
The investigators, who interviewed more than 200 persons involved in the disturbances,
were also local Miami men, two white and three black, who obtained leaves of absence from
various public and private jobs in Dade County to work for the Study Team.
The investigators are:
Jerome S. Reisman
We are indebted to them for doing a thorough job under time pressure and often difficult
Some of the material in Chapter 1, "The Local Background," has been derived solely
from secondary sources such as local newspapers. All significant facts in the remainder of
the report have been verified through interviews or examination of documentary sources.
We are surprised at the extent of the discrepancies between various accounts of the dis-
turbances, even on such simple factual matters as the time and location of single incidents
reported by numerous observers. Except in the report on the Central Negro District, we have
not undertaken to set forth varying accounts of the same episode. We have resolved them as
best we could in discussion with our staff, and presented only our conclusions. A summary
list of source materials which are now part of the Commission's archives is attached hereto
as Appendix I.
We have received excellent cooperation from those whose assistance we have requested:
local newspapers; radio and television stations; the FBI; the Miami Police Department and
the Dade County Department of Public Safety, both of which made their files and internal
reports available to us; other local governmental offices and organizations, including the State
Attorney's office and the Dade County Grand Jury; and many individuals who participated
in or have special knowledge of the disturbances. We do not feel that any information has
been withheld from us after a reasonable request and after the purpose of our investigations
was made known, except in a small number of cases where persons feared reprisals of some
kind, and in these cases we do not feel the withheld information would significantly change
We must record our thanks to Col. William G. McDonald, Administrative Officer of the
Commission, and to his staff in the Washington offices of the Commission; to Ralph C.
Datillio, Esq. and Arden Doss, Jr., Esq., of the Miami Bar, who edited the final text; and to
Mrs. Terry Cueto, our Executive Secretary, and to those who assisted her in the establish-
ment of our Miami offices and operating procedures.
LOUIS J. HECTOR
PAUL L. E. HELLIWELL
Miami Study Team
The civil disturbances which took place during the week of August 5th, 1968 in Miami,
Dade County, Florida brought into confrontation the following groups:
(1) The inhabitants of Liberty City, a black area located within the city limits of
Miami, and local black leaders.
(2) City of Miami Police, supplemented by small detachments from two other
Dade County municipalities.
(3) Deputy Sheriffs from the Dade County Department of Public Safety, supple-
mented by personnel of the Florida National Guard, officers from the Florida Highway
Patrol, and the State Conservation and State Beverage Departments.
(4) Various city, county, and state political figures.
(5) Press and television reporters and cameramen.
The fact that the Republican National Convention was taking place during the week of
August 5th, at Miami Beach, some seven miles away from Liberty City, played only an inci-
dental part in the course of the disturbances. The disturbances involved no articulated politi-
cal or ideological issues such as the Presidential campaign, Viet Nam or the draft. The dis-
turbances were preceded by two attempts to hold mass rallies, but neither of these was
particularly successful, and the leaders of the rallies did not play a significant part in the
disturbances. Although the slogan "Black Power" and the characteristic raised-fist gesture
were used on numerous occasions during the disturbances, they were used as expressions of
solidarity and emotional fervor by the participants and not as part of a planned confronta-
tion or demonstration to obtain specific governmental or economic reforms.
The inhabitants of Liberty City participating in the disturbances were entirely black,
and there were actively involved no white sympathizers or white opponents of the black
cause in general or of the Liberty City community in particular. No students or other out-
side ideological, political or action groups, except two local chapters of United Black Stu-
dents, were significantly involved.
Few blacks from outside of the Liberty City area appear to have been present during
the meetings which preceded the disturbances and they did not play a significant part in the
origin or continuance of the disturbances.
Except for the fact that the local radio reports seem to have attracted additional people
to the riot area, the mass communications media seem to have had little effect on the course
of the disturbances.
The disturbances originated spontaneously and almost entirely out of the accumulated
deprivations, discriminations,and frustrations of the black community in Liberty City, which
are similar to those of urban black communities throughout the United States, exacerbated
by the following special local circumstances:
(a) Loss of local jobs by blacks over the prior several years to Cuban refugees.
(b) Failure of the Dade County business community during the summers of
1967 and 1968 to provide a sufficient number of jobs for black youths despite widely
publicized promises to do so.
(c) Tensions of many years standing between the Miami black community and
the Miami police, which had sharply increased in recent months.
1. THE LOCAL BACKGROUND
The Riot Area
The Miami dusturbances took place almost entirely within the Liberty City section of
the City of Miami. Miami is located in Dade County, Florida, and Liberty City on its west
side lies directly along the boundary between the City of Miami and the unincorporated area
of Dade County. Police protection within the city is provided by the City of Miami police;
within the unincorporated area by the Dade County Department of Public Safety, also
known as the Dade County Sheriff's Department.
Liberty City is a black area with a population of approximately 45,000 located in the
northwest section of the City of Miami. It was planned after World War II as a model low-
cost housing area to supplement and eventually replace the old Central Negro District of
dilapidated wooden houses. In its early stages it consisted of low, widely-spaced buildings
with ample green space between them, but in succeeding years the area has come more and
more to be filled with what are locally called "concrete monsters," i.e., multi-storied con-
crete block apartment houses with open balconies entirely surrounded by asphalt paved
areas. A lack of effective planning and zoning controls, lax enforcement of health, sanitation,
and maintenance standards and the substantial profits to be derived from the construction
and rental of high-density low-maintenance apartment units have destroyed the original con-
cept of a more civilized and liveable low-cost housing area. Ironically, one of the reasons for
the high population concentration in the Liberty City area has been the displacement of
blacks from other areas by various urban renewal and improvement projects, without ade-
quate housing provisions having been made for them elsewhere.
As the Liberty City area has become more and more built up over recent years, the
concentration of people, noise, and, in August, heat, has made living conditions there less
and less tolerable. Nevertheless, the Liberty City area is still somewhat superior to the older
Central Negro District where there are still a number of wooden shacks.
The disturbances took place in Liberty City instead of in the older districts probably be-
cause of the greater total population of Liberty City, a higher proportion of young people,
and the greater difficulty of containing and checking a disturbance in a concentrated area of
A substantial amount of economic and sociological data concerning the Liberty City
area can be made available to the Commission if it is desired. In our view, however, these
data do little more than illustrate and confirm the usual pattern of unemployment and
under-employment, poor schools, early school termination, high-rent for poor housing, poor
health conditions, and high incidence of crime characteristic of similar areas in many other
cities of the United States. Our omission of these data does not imply that we do not think
them of the greatest relevance to the Miami disturbances, but rather that they are not pecu-
liar to Miami and that the relevance of such conditions to civil disturbances is already
well-documented in other studies. Our attention has been focused rather on those elements
in the Miami disturbances which seem to be atypical or local.
Liberty City is seven miles from the hall at Miami Beach where the Republican Con-
vention convened on August 5, 1968.
The location of Liberty City and its geographic relation to the rest of Dade County is
shown on Maps I and III attached.
Chief Walter Headley
The City of Miami Police had for many years prior to the disturbances in 1968 been
under the command of Chief Walter Headley, since deceased. Chief Headley, a strong-
minded, hard-working police chief, carried virtually unchanged into the late 1960's policies
of dealing with minority groups which had been applied in Miami in the 1930's and even
earlier. He was an unequivocal and unapologetic proponent of the "get tough" policy, be-
lieving that the outbreak of civil disturbances can best be prevented by a continuing open
display of force, supplemented from time to time by actual demonstrations that the authori-
ties will not hesitate to use this force. Chief Headley did not believe that community rela-
tions programs with minority groups are a part of the law enforcement responsibility, and he
made no attempt to establish systematic communications with the Miami black community.
His death having intervened between the time of the disturbances and the time of this
report, we do not wish to charge Chief Headley unfairly with practices or attitudes which he
cannot now refute. The Co-Directors of this study, who had known him casually for many
years, interviewed him at some length at the beginning of the investigation and it is their
belief that the foregoing statement of his policies is a fair and accurate one; that he applied
those policies vigorously and conscientiously; that he knew of and had considered alterna-
tive policies; and that he had concluded that his policy of staying tough and displaying force
was the best way to handle minority groups. This is corroborated we think by his public
statements on the subject during the year before the disturbances and by other source
Chief Headley was out of the state during the whole period of the disturbances. He
cannot be held personally accountable for the command confusion which seemed to char-
acterize the actions of the Miami police at times during the disturbances. His relevance to
the events described in this report lies in his police organization and practices and his poli-
cies in dealing with minority groups.
The Black Community and Law Enforcement
During the summer of 1967, the people of Dade County for the first time became gen-
erally aware that black disturbances could occur in their community. The accumulated de-
privations and frustrations of the black community, combined with national racial riots, had
created an atmosphere of tension and apprehension which could no longer escape public
Several times during the summer of 1967 it was feared that riots would break out, the
law enforcement intelligence reports on several occasions narrowed down potential times and
places where disturbances or riots were in the formative stages. These were averted before
any overt acts were committed through the joint efforts of black and white community lead-
ers. Local law enforcement agencies, however, began to prepare seriously for the possibility
of later violence, and they have been generally aware since then that formulation of plans
and stand-by preparations for riot prevention and control are now necessary in Dade County.
After the threats of violence subsided in 1967, community leaders did not succeed in
evoking widespread public interest or support in coping with the causes of discontent in the
black community, and black groups during the following months felt that promises negoti-
ated during the period of imminent threat were not fulfilled. As had happened in other cities,
some of the black leaders who had counseled the black community against violence on the
basis of anticipated remedial action by the community began to lose their influence to more
militant black leaders.
One of the most important sources of black frustration was the feeling that the busi-
ness community had not made good on its well-publicized promise to young blacks that they
would have ample employment opportunities during the remainder of the 1967 summer and
thereafter. The number of jobs made available fell short of meeting the need, and the frustra-
tion created by this was heightened by the increasing number of Cuban refugees being em-
ployed in Dade County. The failure to secure jobs together with the lack of recreational fa-
cilities left many black youngsters with too much free time during their summer vacation.
In December, 1967, after a disproportionate number of individual violent crimes in the
black areas of Miami, Chief Headley of the Miami Police Department called a press confer-
ence and announced his widely-reported get-tough policy. He stated that the black commu-
nity would henceforth receive concentrated treatment with double patrols armed with shot-
guns and dogs. As to riots, he stated, "When the looting starts, the shooting starts."
Responsible white and black leaders asked Chief Headley to call an additional press confer-
ence to clarify his position and to insure against any misunderstanding that his get-tough
policy would be applied in discriminatory fashion only to blacks. The Chief in future public
statements and press conferences did not allay fears that the get-tough policy would be ap-
plied largely to blacks. We attach hereto as Appendix II, copies of newspaper articles report-
ing Chief Headley's announcement and subsequent clarifications of his get-tough policy.
Whether or not the policy of the Miami Police Department was actually as tough and as dis-
criminatory as the published reports indicated, there was sufficient substance to them to
keep the black community in a state of continued agitation during the next eight months
from December 1967 to August 1968.
During these eight months, the implementation of the get-tough policy, the frequent
display of shotguns and dogs by Miami Police in black neighborhoods, and the aggressive use
of the Miami stop-and-frisk law resulted in frequent confrontations and growing tension be-
tween members of the black community and the Miami Police. Word spread through the
black community that the Police were regularly hailing black males on the street, addressing
them as "boy" or "nigger," and requesting identification and disclosure of the purpose of
their being where they were. Patrols with shotguns and dogs regularly entered predominately
black clubs and bars and demanded identification and purpose of presence from all patrons.
We attach hereto as Appendix III, newspaper articles relating to incidents of this type, not as
proof of the detailed substance of the articles but as examples of the stimuli to which the
black community was reacting during this time.
Whatever the details of these and other types of confrontation, the City of Miami Police
Department did appear to believe that continuous forceful displays and confrontations would
elicit fear and respect on the part of the black community and secure civil order. The belief
grew in the black community, however, that they were being unnecessarily harassed and
abused by the Miami Police.
During these eight months the policies and actions of the Miami Police were accentu-
ated by comparison with the policies and actions of the Dade County Public Safety Depart-
ment. That Department had instituted a program of community relations whereby deputy
sheriffs went into the black community and sought to open lines of communication and
develop friendly relations. County policemen went to the pool halls to meet the youths;
they mixed with crowds and tried to convey the message that law enforcement groups and
the black community could and should have mutual respect for each other.
The Dade County Director of Public Safety, who also carries the title of Sheriff, and
his chief assistants personally participated in many group meetings with the black commu-
nity to discuss policy and community problems. The County officers did not pamper
trouble makers or law breakers, however, and they seem to have enforced the law and main-
tained order effectively.
During these eight months, the technical law enforcement duties accomplished in black
communities by the Miami Police and the Dade County officers were not materially differ-
ent. The personal relationships and attitudes developed, however, were very different. The
black community and many whites involved in OEO and other community relations pro-
grams came to believe that the Headley policy had revived within the Miami Police a basic
intolerance toward blacks and had encouraged unnecessary police harshness and insolence
toward them. The Dade County Police officials, on the other hand, seem to have gained the
respect and trust of many members of the black community.
2. THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION
August 5 August 8
Preparations for the Republican National Convention which took place in Miami Beach
during the week of August 5, 1968, were well handled and as a result, no major law enforce-
ment problems arose.
Miami Beach is a solidly Democratic community and the City Council apparently had
no political or personal interest in the outcome of the Republican Convention. Their interest
was solely that it be conducted in a fashion consistent with bringing other major conven-
tions to Miami Beach. The Miami Beach Police is an independent municipal police force
serving only the resort community where the convention took place.
Prior to the Convention, leaders of the Nixon, Rockefeller, Reagan, and lesser campaign
groups were contacted by the Miami Beach police and advised of the procedures to be fol-
lowed. Before and during the Convention itself, there was constant communication between
the police and organizations interested in demonstrating at the Convention. These groups
made numerous demands upon the police force and many demands were accommodated.
To those that were rejected, the police tried to give acceptable alternatives. If the police felt
there was a security problem in demonstrators going up one street, for instance, they sug-
gested another street that similarly served the purposes of the demonstrators. Tampa garbage-
men, Cuban refugees, the elderly, several black groups, along with supporters of each candi-'
date, were permitted access to desirable positions in order to demonstrate. They did not al-
always get the places and the times desired, but they were not given times and places that
were unacceptable. By such practices, the law enforcement officials did not place candidates
or pressure groups in a position of direct confrontation and disagreement with the police and
permitted most demonstrators to feel that they had had an opportunity to let off steam and
support their candidate or cause in a reasonable manner.
The law enforcement coordination for the Republican Convention was well handled be-
tween the City of Miami Beach, the other cities of Dade County, and County and Federal of-
ficials. There were available at all times sufficient law enforcement personnel not only to
stop but also to deter any violence. Needless to say, there were individual instances of law
violations, of hostility and lack of restraint, but the instances or allegations of these are so
minor they are not worthy of mention.
We do not intend by the above description and characterization of the police work at
Miami Beach to make invidious comparisons with police work at Chicago or elsewhere. No
candidate nor any pressure group at Miami Beach acted in such way as to precipitate an un-
avoidable confrontation with law enforcement officials or a violent outbreak. Responsible
parties on both sides kept things running smoothly, and neither side had occasion to demon-
strate the restraint which seems to be required in situations where an organized group is con-
sciously looking for trouble.
Although there was no significant direct connection between the Republican Conven-
tion at Miami Beach and the Liberty City disturbance during the week of August 5, the two
were not wholly unrelated. Local black leaders and the more politically-sophisticated mem-
bers of the black community, for instance, resented what they felt to be totally inadequate
black representation in the delegations to the Republican Convention. An ad hoc group
called Afro-Republican had been formed to organize a protest against "lily-white" delega-
tions, but this group never appeared to have an effective organization or program. Although
they did desire to protest the small number of black delegates they did not appear to have
any thought of actually disrupting the Republican proceedings, and there did not appear to
be in the Miami black areas any movement to influence the selection of the Republican can-
The only other significant connections between the Republican Convention and the
Liberty City disturbances were:
(1) The City of Miami police and the Dade County Public Safety Department
had available smaller resources of personnel and supplies than normally because of
assistance they were giving to the Miami Beach police.
(2) There was in Dade County a much greater concentration of news media of
all kinds than normally and a much greater possibility of national publicity.
(3) There was in Dade County a large concentration of city, county, and state po-
litical officials, who could easily get to the area of the disturbances, in the hope of
helping to quell them or secure national television coverage for themselves, or both.
(4) There was at Miami Beach a concentration of national black leaders who
played no part in originating the disturbances but whose presence may have caused
local black activists to be more aggressive than usual in the hope that they would at-
tract the attention of national black leaders.
One other source of tension underlying the Miami disturbances relates not to the Re-
publican Convention which did take place on Miami Beach but to the Democratic Conven-
tion which did not. For some weeks Florida state and local officials, trying to convince the
Democratic Party to have its convention at Miami Beach also, emphasized as the main selling
point the fact that civil disturbances of the type anticipated in Chicago could be avoided here.
The Governor and local officials assured the Democratic Party that this kind of thing could
not happen in Dade County, or if it did, that it would be minor and easily contained. Some
black leaders had come to feel that this wide advertisement of their purported passivity for
the purpose of promoting local hotel and tourist facilities was demeaning to the local black
community and falsely implied that the black community was content with its economic and
3. THE BLACK RALLIES
Sunday through Wednesday, August 4 to 7
On Sunday evening, August 4, representatives of the Dade County organizations of the
Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE),
United Black Students (UBS) (including groups from the University of Miami and Miami-
Dade Junior College), Black Association for Total Equality bateE), Black Panthers, Afro-
Republicans and others met at SCLC headquarters at 534 N. W. 2nd Avenue and decided to
hold a mass black rally on the following Wednesday, August 7.
The listing of these groups does not imply that each of them took a formal position
supporting the rally; in some cases the group representation was very casual. The NAACP,
for instance, which was listed in the notice of the August 7 meeting denies any participation
Primarily responsible for calling and organizing the meeting was Jimmy Chapman, a
former president of the local SCLC who still retained great influence on local SCLC activi-
ties. The motivations and purposes for organizing a mass rally were mixed, but seem mainly
to have been:
(1) A desire to demonstrate that the Dade County black conimunity was not as
content as portrayed by those attempting to attract the Democratic Convention.
(2) A desire to organize a protest against all-white delegations to the Republican
(3) A desire to express black demands and grievances at a time when the atten-
tion of important political figures and nationwide publicity might be secured.
Representatives of generally the same groups met again at SCLC headquarters on Mon-
day evening, August 5. Handbills announcing a rally on Wednesday had been prepared by
one of the groups and were passed out for distribution. (Appendix IV). During the next
two days these handbills were circulated generally throughout the black community and par-
ticularly in the Liberty City area. Some of them seem to have found their way to Miami
Beach where they were passed out during the Abernathy muletrain march on Tuesday,
It was apparently the hope of some of the organizers of the Wednesday rally that they
could attract a sizeable crowd and then stimulate it to go from Liberty City to Miami Beach
to protest. A more or less spontaneous movement of the crowd in private automobiles was
apparently intended since there were never any fully developed plans or organizations for
the movement. The Miami Beach Police Chief was not informed by the organizers of plans
to go to the Beach, and the plans were seemingly never significant enough to be picked up
by police intelligence.
Meanwhile, arrangements were made for a meeting of the Afro-Republicans on Tuesday
evening, August 6, for the purpose of protesting the small number of black delegates at the
Republican Convention. There is some confusion over the sponsorship of this meeting. Two
local black leaders, Bernie Dyer and Brother Lowe are said by some sources to have organ-
ized the meeting, but Bernie Dyer, one of the more energetic black activists, denies that he
was involved. It is confirmed that leaflets advertising the meeting were distributed by
Brother Lowe. one of the older and less active black leaders.
Whatever the sponsorship, the meeting was a failure, apparently in large part because of
very poor publicity. James Farmer, former head of CORE, Athalie Range, a black Miami
City Commissioner, and a representative of striking garbagemen in Tampa, Florida, then
demonstrating on Miami Beach, were to speak, but when less than twenty people appeared,
the meeting disbanded without any program taking place.
The relationship between the Tuesday evening Afro-Republican meeting and the Wed-
nesday mid-day rally is not completely clear. Although the Afro-Republican group was ac-
tive in both, and the meetings took place in the same room, there is no evidence of any
connection between them; nor is there any evidence that the course of events on Wednesday
and thereafter would not have been approximately the same with or without the Tuesday
In an effort to insure a large turnout at the Wednesday meeting, six guest speakers had
been advertised on the handbill, including Ralph Abernathy and Wilt "The Stilt" Chamber-
lain. In terms of subsequent events probably the most important guest speaker advertised
was Wilt Chamberlain, the nationally known basketball player. Mr. Chamberlain, who was in
Dade County on behalf of a Republican candidate for nomination, was approached on Tues-
day afternoon, and asked if he or a member of his group would come to the mass rally
meeting the next afternoon. He responded that he would try to send someone to this meet-
ing, but he apparently never committed himself to come or even send a representative, and
never agreed to permit the use of his name in conjunction with the meeting. The same also
appears to be true of Ralph Abernathy. Chapman claims that he approached Abernathy
twice but admits that Rev. Abernathy never committed himself any further than to say that
he might be able to attend the meeting late Wednesday afternoon.
The hall chosen for the Wednesday mass black rally is located at 1675 N. W. 62nd
Street, on the corner of two major thoroughfares and opposite a school, which insured at-
tention from numerous passers-by and from teenagers congregated at the school playground.
(Map II). This is a densely populated area and the meeting place was in a three-story
"concrete monster" apartment house. On the ground floor is the large vacant office of
a local rental agency then being used by Clarence Edwards, a local black leader who was or-
ganizing a get-out-the-vote campaign within the black community to assist Democratic candi-
dates in the November election. Edwards was using such slogans as "Vote Power," "Vote
Baby Vote," and other similarly oriented phrases. It was Edwards who made the room
available to Chapman and his group for the Wednesday rally. Some of his "Vote Power"
literature was in the room on Wednesday and apparently got mixed with handbills for the
Wednesday meeting which resulted in some confusion about the purpose of this meeting and
some confusion between the slogans "Vote Power" and "Black Power."
At approximately 12:30 P.M. Wednesday, August 7, a gathering of about thirty people,
including Chapman and Edwards, had assembled in the meeting room. In addition to the
participants, several local news reporters, at least two television network reporters, and one
TV cameraman were on the scene. Prominently displayed at the entrance of the meeting
room was a sign which read "Blacks Only." Since all of the newsmen were white, they were
denied access to the meeting, and with one exception they remained outside of the building
in the immediate vicinity of the intersection of N. W. 17th Avenue and 62nd Street. Disre-
garding the sign, one white reporter entered the building sometime prior to 1:00 P.M. As
the meeting was called to order, this reporter, along with a few other white persons who had
entered, was requested to leave. All left except the reporter, who was initially asked and sub-
sequently ordered to leave the meeting. After his repeated refusals, he was physically es-
corted out of the meeting by several unidentified black people.
During the early stages of the meeting there were introductions of those present and a
few speeches intended to generate interest in poverty and minority deprivations generally.
By 1:15 P.M. the group still numbered less than thirty, many of them teenagers obviously
attracted by the rumor that Wilt "The Stilt" Chamberlain would be there. As time passed,
other teenagers appeared, apparently attracted by the same expectation.
These activities had from noon on been under surveillance of a few uniformed City of
Miami Policemen. Unbeknownst to the City Police, the meeting had been infiltrated since
approximately 12:30 by two black Dade County Public Safety Dept. intelligence officers.
The City Police confined their activities to observations from a location directly south of
the meeting in the parking lot of a hamburger stand. A telephone emergency call box lo-
cated on the corner of N. W. 17th Avenue and 62nd Street was used by the officers to sub-
mit status reports to their superiors. The people at the rally felt that the police intended to
break up the meeting, and at approximately 1:30 a black representative requested the police
to stop the surveillance. This verbal request was refused and the Miami Police remained on
As the rally progressed, some of the participants filtered out onto the sidewalk appar-
ently to attract more people to the rally, and began to distribute not only the flyers adver-
tising the rally but also "Vote Power" and other materials which had been left in the meeting
room by other groups. This material was given to pedestrians and motorists who were
stopped at the intersection. Motorists who refused to accept the flyers and pamphlets were
From 2:00 P.M. on, the crowd grew more rapidly and by 2:30 P.M. there were at least
150 people present. The crowd, because of its size, could no longer be contained on the
sidewalk and began overflowing onto the street. As the crowd grew, it became more vocal
and more active, and the police reacted by calling five additional police patrol cars and one
canine unit to the scene. Immediately upon their arrival they became the target of the
crowd's jeers and taunts.
One black City of Miami motorcycle patrolman who had been called to the scene en-
tered the meeting hall and was promptly insulted and requested to leave. Upon the arrival
of his white counterpart the crowd became so unruly that they both decided to leave.
Between 2:30 and 3:00 P.M., the crowd of approximately 150 to 200 consisted mostly
of teenagers and pre-teenagers. These youngsters, who were disappointed because Wilt
Chamberlain was not there and who were not interested in the speeches, took to the street
and began to vent their disappointment on the police and motorists passing through the
333-812 0 69 2
area. At this stage they were throwing small stones at motorists, both black and white, and
yelling insults at policemen. The policemen took no action to stop them, but continued
only to observe and to move back onto the sidewalk from time to time those who had wan-
dered into the street.
During this period, an impromptu parade was staged by a group marching with signs
previously used by Tampa Garbagemen in their demonstration at the Republican Convention
site. This attracted the attention of a white TV cameraman from one of the local stations,
and he attempted to film the marchers. Some of the marchers were receptive and sought
vigorously to have themselves and their signs in the reporter's face and in front of his camera
to prevent any pictures being taken.
The increased activity brought many of the inhabitants out of the apartments in the
area, as well as others who were attracted by the growing excitement. Until around 3:30 or
4:00 P.M. the mood of the crowd seemed jovial and the atmosphere somewhat carnival-like.
From then on, the crowd grew larger, louder and more restless and unruly. Teenagers, who
had previously been throwing pebbles, began throwing larger rocks, bottles and other ob-
jects, and they began to single out vehicles driven by white persons as their targets. This
conduct continued unhampered by the approximately twenty-five uniformed City Policemen
until around 5:00 P.M., and during this time traffic was allowed to flow freely through the
area. Several automobile windshields were broken, but no serious injuries to individuals
By 5:00 P.M. the disturbance had become so widespread and intense that the Miami
Police decided to restrict traffic through the area. The City established road blocks on 62nd
Street and 12th Avenue on the east, and requested that the Dade County Public Safety De-
partment establish a similar traffic control point at N. W. 18th Avenue on the west. Both
traffic control points were secured by 6:00 P.M., and traffic was diverted successfully, ex-
cept for that which entered 62nd Street from intermediate Avenues between 12th and 18th
Avenues. As the traffic thinned out, the rock and bottle throwing eased off, and the City of
Miami Police became the prime targets for the crowd's abuse.
The City of Miami Police on the scene at this time consisted of two distinct groups re-
ceiving separate orders from their respective command officers. Units of a special Task Force
had surrounded the building where the meeting took place, and when things had calmed down
there, they determined that their presence was no longer required. The regular police, under
separate and independent command, were ordered to a police command post which had been
established at 12th Avenue and 50th Street, in order-to reorganize and receive additional
equipment. Both groups withdrew before 6:50 and at the same time the City removed its
road block and requested the County to do likewide. By 7:00 P.M., all police had left the
area and traffic had resumed on 62nd Street. As he was departing the scene, one policeman
observed rock and bottle throwing commencing again, and at about this time a white female
passenger in a passing car was severely injured by the flying glass.
By this time, a crowd of approximately 300 with many adults among them had congre-
gated at the intersection of N. W. 62nd Street and 17th Avenue. They were again throwing
rocks and stones at passing cars. No law enforcement officials were visibly present at the
4. THE RIOT STARTS
7 P.M. Wednesday
Around 7 P.M. Wednesday, a white man was driving east on 62nd Street in an automo-
bile bearing a "Wallace for President" sticker. As he approached 15th Avenue, his car was
peppered with rocks. He panicked, attempted to go around two other automobiles and
through a red light, lost control of his car, hit a truck, and stalled. The car was then bom-
barded with rocks and bottles and the crowd started yelling "Get Whitey." The driver
waited for a few minutes in his car hoping for police assistance, then abandoned the car and
was pulled to safety inside a nearby bar by a group of black men standing in the doorway.
The car was overturned and set afire by a group of black youths. The riot had started.
The automobile burning took place a little after 7 P.M. at N. W. 62nd Street at 15th
Avenue, two blocks east of the meeting hall. Immediately afterward groups of black youth
commenced looting and vandalizing in the immediate area of the automobile fire and then
moved quickly eastward toward the rows of small stores on 62nd Street. One of the first
stores they attempted to enter was a grocery near 14th Avenue. The door was blocked by
four blacks who talked them out of looting that particular store. Continuing east, the
crowds attempted to be selective in their looting by determining whether a shop was black-
As the riot grew in size and intensity, it moved further east along 62nd Street, all within
the city limits of Miami. The Dade County Sheriffs Department was advised of develop-
ments by its intelligence agents on the scene and observers stationed immediately across the
city boundary at 62nd Street and 17th Avenue.
At 7:10, the Sheriffs Department, on its own initiative, reestablished traffic control
points on N.W. 62nd Street at 22nd and 18th Avenue, the western boundary of the Miami
City limits. Because of jurisdictional limitations, the county on its own initiative could estab-
lish traffic control only at a point to the west of the trouble area.
Almost all witnesses agree that at this time there were no Miami Police visible in the
During this period, as at all times before and after, the activities of the news media were
unrestricted in the area of the disturbances. They used their own discretion in determining
where to go and what to do. The fact that the disturbances were taking place was aired
promptly on two radio stations serving primarily the black community. One newscaster
made a telephone call to one of the stations from the scene, and his report came "live" on
the air in the midst of a popular rock-and-roll show. This medium, perhaps more than any
other was responsible for quickly spreading the work and attracting more people to the scene
with concomitant problems.
Some 300 people appear to have been directly involved in the disturbances which fol-
lowed the automobile burning, in addition to numerous uninvolved residents of the area, by-
standers and sight-seers. The vandalism and looting was started primarily by groups of
young black males between the ages of ten and twenty, but they were soon joined by adults,
both men and women. No black-owned stores however were looted or vandalized at this
time, and the violence was concentrated between N.W. 12th and 17th Avenues along 62nd
The City of Miami Police, who had withdrawn from the area at approximately 6:50,
began to return at approximately 7:25, after receiving riot equipment at the Police com-
mand post established at 12th Avenue and 50th Street. One squad car at a time arrived until
a sizeable force was in the area.
A clear plan for coordinated police action was not evident, and the arrival of squad cars
in a piece-meal fashion caused some confusion. As each car arrived at the scene of the dis-
turbance, it would often make its own new radio report of the incidents which it observed.
As the number of vehicles arriving at the scene increased, there was a corresponding increase
in the number of radio reports of incidents, and as each new incident report came over the
air, vehicles would often go to the scene of the new incident on their own decision, some-
times leaving another trouble spot unsecured.
As the police cars went from one incident to another, the looters returned to the areas
the police had left. The riot had seemingly reached a stage where it would break out again
as soon as police forces were removed.
As the number of police increased to a total of around 200, however, they gained con-
trol of the area of looting, which was still largely confined to five blocks along 62nd Street,
and the crowds began to splinter and disperse. The police arrested some individual law vio-
lators, but avoided any action which might produce mass confrontations.
By approximately 8:15 P.M. the area had cooled down; there were no large crowds;
and there was only individual and isolated looting and vandalism.
5. THE POLITICIANS ARRIVE
8:15 P.M. Wednesday, August 7
At approximately 8:15 P.M. elected officials began to enter the area of the disturb-
ances. By this time, the crowds had for the most part been dispersed and brought under
control by the Miami Police. Many residents of the area had returned to their homes.
The arrival of persons holding major public office, accompanied by entourages of as-
sistants, security personnel and representatives of the news media served to bring the area
to life again. The speeches given by the officials on the open streets drew more people
out into the streets. Since the message of the talks was to "go home and be quiet," there
was some resentment on the part of the residents of the area at being called out of their
homes, in effect, only to be told to go back. As one resident expressed it, the crowds
were not particularly receptive to "white politicians doing their thing."
The first major political figure to enter the area was Mayor Clark of Miami. By
8:15, he was addressing a crowd at N.W. 62nd Street and 15th Avenue from the top of a
police car. In airing their grievances, the crowd began to demand that the Miami Police
withdraw from the area, and the Mayor agreed to a Police withdrawal.
Due either to the belief that police withdrawal was a law enforcement decision
which must come down through appropriate channels or the belief that withdrawal was
unsafe, the City of Miami Police were unwilling to leave. After a conference, the police
agreed to withdraw if Mayor Clark would assume full responsibility. He accepted the re-
sponsibility and advised the crowd the police would leave. However, a combination of
crowd exuberance, a police car that stalled, the throwing of a rock at a police vehicle,
and the firing of a warning shot by a policeman resulted almost immediately in the re-
newal of the disturbances, and this ended any possibility of the withdrawal of the police
forces. Mayor Clark left the area and did not return that night.
In response to the renewed disturbances, for the first time the Miami Police com-
menced the limited use of tear gas. By 9:00 P.M. the police had again regained control of
At approximately 9:30 P.M., Charles Hall, Mayor of Metropolitan Dade County, ar-
rived in the disturbance area. Touring the area in a large official limousine, he finally
stopped at a gas station on N. W. 12th Avenue and 62nd Street and he began to talk to a
small group gathered there. As he talked, more people gathered, many again coming out
of apartments in the neighborhood. The Mayor's speech was largely concerned with the
proposed consolidation into Dade County of the Miami and other municipal police forces
and other municipal services, with the Mayor urging that a vote for consolidation was a
step toward curing the problems and difficulties of the black community.
Shortly thereafter Claude Kirk, the Governor of Florida, arrived in the area, accom-
panied by Ralph Abernathy of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference who was at-
tending the Republican Convention at Miami Beach. Both the Governor and Rev. Aber-
nathy gave a short talk to the people on the street, asking them to voice their grievances
rather than engage in civil disorders. The Governor, the Rev. Abernathy, Miami Municipal
Judge Huttoe, Miami City Manager Melvin Reese, and Metropolitan Mayor Hall, then en-
tered the Liberty City Community Council offices at 1260 N. W. 62nd Street to meet
with the leaders of the Council and discuss grievances. Police were stationed outside the
As the meeting progressed, approximately 100 people collected on the streets near
the building, among them several members of the press as well as aides to officials at the
meeting. Many of the residents of the large apartment complex immediately to the east
of the Community Council Building, as well as of other nearby apartments, gathered on
the outside stairs and balconies of their apartment buildings, and gradually became more
restless and boisterous as the meeting progressed inside. The police in turn became in-
creasingly concerned over the safety of the public officials. Several times during the
course of the meeting, representatives of the Community Council left the building to calm
the crowd and reassure the police, but the police finally decided to require all the resi-
dents to clear the porches and stairways and go back inside their apartments. This ap-
pears to have been accomplished without any serious confrontations.
The meeting itself proceeded without significant interruption and the general area
At the meeting, the Council representatives voiced dissatisfaction with the various
programs which had been proposed or offered to aid the black community, both as to
their nature and as to how they had been carried out. About 1:30 A.M. Thursday, after
almost three hours of discussion, the Governor concluded the meeting by requesting the
preparation of a written list of grievances, which he said he would use to brief the repre-
sentatives he promised to send to a meeting the next day. Such a list was prepared and
submitted. The Governor and the other public officials who had been present then left,
saying that they would send representatives to a meeting at 11:00 A.M. Thursday to dis-
cuss further the problems of the black community and the programs which might help
With the announcement of the forthcoming discussion of problems and programs, the
black community leaders were able to assist in dispersing the remaining crowds. Most of
the black residents, even the militants, appeared to be willing to peacefully await the re-
sults of the meeting scheduled for Thursday morning.
During all this time, and continuing until about 8 A.M., Thursday, there were only a
few isolated incidents of fire bombings and looting. Since 62nd Street was almost devoid
of civilian traffic, however, police cars responding to calls with lights and sirens seemed
more numerous and ominous than they actually were.
6. POLITICIANS FAIL TO ARRIVE
8 A.M. Thursday, August 8
By 8:00 A.M. Thursday morning, groups of teenagers had assembled in the vicinity of
13th Avenue and 62nd Street, the location of the offices of the Liberty City Community
Council where the meetings had taken place the night before and were scheduled to resume
at 11:00 A.M. As the crowd grew, some of the teenagers began again to throw small rocks
occasionally at passing vehicles, including police cars. By 10:00 A.M. the Miami Police be-
came sufficiently concerned to again reroute traffic away from 62nd Street. Other residents
of Liberty City joined the crowd awaiting the arrival of the officials, and by 11:00 A.M. the
crowd in the area between 12th and 13th Avenues on 62nd Street numbered approximately
300 with others congregating along 62nd Street to the west.
At 11:00 o'clock, none of the officials expected by the crowd appeared. The Governor
sent a representative, Macon Williams, a black leader of his staff for OEO matters, but be-
cause he lacked the authority or ability to do more than act as a messenger, the leaders of
the Liberty City Council refused to confer with him.
The Council leaders telephoned the various officials to express their disappointment
and the meeting was rescheduled for 2:00 P.M. The public announcement of the cancella-
tion caused an immediate reaction not only in the crowd gathered in the immediate one
block area, but also among the crowd gathered along 62nd Street from 17th Avenue to 12th
Avenue. Almost immediately, they began again to throw rocks and bottles and to break
into and loot stores on 62nd Street.
The Miami Police had relieved many of the officers who had worked the hight before,
and there were only fifteen police on the scene who were unable to control or contain the
crowd after the political leaders failed to arrive. At 10:30, the Miami Police had requested
assistance from the County and a small force had been dispatched, but it was sent back to
County duty by the Miami Police shortly thereafter on the ground that the County action
had left certain black areas in the County inadequately policed. At around noon, the Miami
Police at the riot area requested assistance and by 1:00 P.M. had received a supplementary
force of an additional twenty City Police and twenty Florida Highway Patrolmen with a riot
truck. The crowd in the immediate vicinity of the meeting place was very unruly and ver-
bally abusive, and there were isolated incidents of both looting and burning in nearby areas.
Well-known local black citizens sought to calm the crowd by talking through a loudspeaker
from the Highway Patrol riot truck, but were shouted down by demands for the appearance
of the Governor and the Mayors and the withdrawal of all white police from the area. The
demand was relayed to the Miami Police command post by police radio and the command
post advised that "The Mayors are enroute."
So far as it is known, neither the Governor nor any senior representative returned to
the meeting hall, though a crowd awaited their arrival through the mid-day heat which
reached 90. The two Mayors apparently intended to return, but after they were advised
that their personal safety might be endangered if they entered the riot area, they decided
not to return. This development was not adequately communicated to anyone at the meet-
ing place and no effort was made to reschedule the meeting at some "alternate," "safer"
When 2:00 P.M. passed without any of the officials arriving for the meeting, the dis-
turbances became far more intense. The few Miami Police present became the targets of
rocks, bottles, and other miscellaneous objects, and the looting and burning intensified.
Police efforts to arrest those involved were hampered by the surrounding crowds. The Fire
Department arrived and much of the police attention was taken up with protecting them.
As on Wednesday afternoon, incidents were reported several times on the police radio,
were heard by all cars, and frequently caused an unnecessary congregation of police cars at
the new incident, leaving other incidents unattended.
In order to disperse the crowds, the police requested the use of the Highway Patrol riot
truck to gas the area. The truck moved west on 62nd Street to 17th Avenue lobbing tear gas
into the crowds and dispersing them. As the gas disappeared, however, the crowd promptly
reassembled along 62nd Street. The city police reappeared, now strengthened with an addi-
tional fifty-five State Highway Patrolmen and attempted to disperse the crowd again with
hand-thrown tear gas, but this was not successful.
As the situation continued to deteriorate, police squad cars reported that they were re-
ceiving sniper fire. The first sniper fire purportedly came from the second floor of an apart-
ment building at 61st Street and 13th Avenue. A radio report brought other squad cars to
the scene and they too claim to have received sniper fire. The crowd on 62nd Street and 15th
Avenue had grown increasingly unruly and refused to disperse, and at this point, the police
fired warning shots from shotguns and automatic weapons in the direction of the crowd.
People began running for cover, behind and between apartments and behind the concrete
walls in the area as the shooting continued. The shooting lasted only a few minutes. When
it was over, two black civilians, both adults, had been shot dead and one black child had
been wounded. Several policemen had received injuries from thrown objects.
We have not attempted to describe in detail the events of Thursday afternoon. There
was no coordinated strategy or plan of the rioters, and it is our impression that the police
action also consisted largely of individual actions and decisions with little or no coordinated
plan. The general character of the incidents can be illustrated by quoting the report of one
policeman who had left 62nd Street and 15th Avenue just before the shooting started at
62nd Street and 15th Avenue.
"I was on foot west of it [N. W. 14th Court on 62nd Street] and a couple of
shots were fired. I whirled around and came back. At that time there were several
officers firing. I took a crouched position on the western side of the wall, adjacent
to the sidewalk. I could only see two people down behind another wall. I couldn't
tell what they were doing. There had been gun fire coming as I was running up. I
saw two males I don't know how old they were, behind a wall some distance back
and I put a burst of shots across the cement wall that was there. I was firing a sub-
machine gun, an M-3 special machine gun, military model. When I shot, everybody
quit shooting. I had fired at the wall, I figured that they could tell we weren't
This is not untypical of the individual police reports.
7. THE SHERIFF TAKES COMMAND
5 P.M., Thursday, August 8
With the outbreak of major disturbances on Thursday, Miami police officials realized
that they did not have sufficient manpower to accomplish more than containment and con-
sequently requested Melvin Reese, the Miami City Manager, to call for assistance.
Prior to this time there had been limited contact between police and National Guard
officials regarding the possibility of mobilizing and coordinating a large force to regain con-
trol of the disturbed area, but the officials who possessed the authority to request such as-
sistance apparently had not been involved in these discussions.
At approximately 4:00 P.M. on Thursday, August 8th, as the incidents of violence
continued, the Governor and various City, County, Police and National Guard officials
met in the City of Miami command post at Manor Park, some 12 blocks south of the
From this meeting the following developed:
(1) The Governor gave the Dade County Sheriffs office overall command of
(2) Approximately 950 National Guardsmen, who as such could not effect civil-
ian arrests, were mobilized. They were placed under command of the Sheriff who had
county-wide civil jurisdiction and authority to effect arrests.
(3) Command officials adjourned to Miami Fire Station No. 2 at N. W. 65th
Street and 27th Avenue and there planned implementation of a 6:00 P.M. to 6:00 A.M.
curfew and a massive show of force in the actual riot area.
The agreed curfew area covered about 500 square blocks, with its 14 block nucleus be-
ing the actual riot zone of N. W. 61st to 63rd Streets between 10th and 17th Avenues.
Around the nucleus, some 50 officers of the State Conservation Department sealed off roads
and the Dade County Public Works Department supplied barricades. A "buffer zone," cov-
ering about 100 square blocks from N. W. 58th Street to 67th Street and between 7th and
17th Avenues, was established. Along the perimeter of this "buffer zone" a police line,
manned by Miami police, was set up (See Map III). All bars and liquor stores were ordered
At approximately 6:00 P.M., while the Miaini Police and State Conservation Officers
were establishing their lines, the National Guard and County Police assembled at Edison
Park on N. W. 62nd Street and 5th Avenue and from there marched to the riot zone.
Without incident, fifteen 10 man squads of National Guardsmen and fifteen 7 man
squads of county police (a total of about 250 men) entered the 14 square block riot area in
parade fashion about 7:00 P.M. The squads proceeded down N. W. 62nd Street from 10th
to 17th Avenues, accompanied by jeeps and an armored personnel carrier. Each squad was
equipped with automatic weapons and, as proved more important, a full set of loud-speaker
Squads were dropped off at strategic points along the line of march throughout the
riot zone. Loud speakers announced a 6:00 P.M. to 6:00 A.M. curfew was in effect, and
anyone violating the curfew would be subject to immediate arrest.
Residents saw the display of massive force, heard the curfew orders and the orders to
return home and, with few exceptions, rapidly complied so that massive confrontations were
avoided and major force never utilized.
At the outset, many of the residents in the curfew area (which extended far beyond the
actual riot zone) were unaware of the curfew. As a result, many who attempted to enter the
area upon returning from work were not permitted to do so until they could prove their resi-
dence. Others, who had been in their homes and did not hear the curfew proclamation were
arrested when they went out during the night for various purposes. The actual riot zone re-
mained completely cordoned off.
The actions of the police and the National Guard were well coordinated and force and
curfew enforcement were used with discretion. Only one incident involving the possible use
of excessive force appears to have occurred. A man, his wife and daughter (all adults) were
on their porch at N. W. 63rd Street and 13th Avenue. Uniformed county police ordered
them inside. Apparently feeling the man was unduly procrastinating they struck and knocked
him down with rifle butts. He fell over his wife, who was sitting in a chair, and both went to
the floor, where he was again struck. The man contends any delay on his part was solely be-
cause his wife had just been released from the hospital following surgery and it was neces-
sary that he physically help her inside.
Two newsmen on the scene attempted to photograph the incident, but the police used
their bodies and rifle barrels to prevent photographs from being taken.
During the enforcement of the curfew there were some isolated incidents of criminal
activity, to which the enforcement agencies effectively responded. As was to be expected, a
substantial number of curfew violators, who were not engaged in criminal activity, were ar-
rested and jailed but were released as soon as they could be sorted out.
In addition to the curfew imposed in the Liberty City area, the City of Miami imposed
a similar curfew in other predominantly black areas within its boundaries.
8. THE CENTRAL NEGRO DISTRICT
Thursday Night, August 8
Upon the assumption of command by the Dade County Public Safety Department, the
City of Miami Police were relieved of any authority and responsibility in the Liberty City
riot area, and were instructed that all calls for police service in the area would be handled by
the Public Safety Department. The order brought instant angry protests from the Miami
Police ranks. They felt that they were being replaced after having done all of the fighting
and restoring the area to normalcy.
The City of Miami Police continued to provide police service to the remainder of the
City, and after withdrawing from the central riot area, they increased their patrols in the
two other black areas of the City-the Central Negro District and the Coconut Grove area in
the South. There were occasional reports of incidents in Coconut Grove, and police cars
were stationed in and around that area, but no significant episodes are known to have oc-
curred. In the Central Negro District there were isolated looting and curfew violations
throughout Thursday night, apparently inspired at least in part by the Liberty City disturb-
ances. The disturbances never became widespread, however, and there was only one major
episode Thursday night worthy of description. This was a brief but violent occurrence of
gun fire at an apartment house at 329 N. W. 22nd Street.
The apartment house on 22nd Street is a three story concrete block apartment building
with approximately 75 units and 300 inhabitants. It is one of the more depressing types of
the concrete monsters and is in an unusually crowded and run-down area of similar apart-
At approximately 10:30 P.M. a fire bomb of some type was thrown onto the roof of a
store next door to the 22nd Street apartment house. The roof was gravel and no harm was
done, but one of the residents, apparently afraid that the bomb would roll onto nearby gas
tanks, called the Miami Fire Department. When a Miami fire unit arrived, they found no
fire and found no one who would tell them anything, the residents apparently being afraid
that they would get someone into trouble. This same episode was apparently repeated a
short time afterwards.
Meanwhile police patrols had been increasing in the area. At 11:15 there was a looting
at 310 N. W. 24th Street, two blocks away from the apartment house, at which time four
black men were arrested and the stolen property recovered. This episode served to increase
police concentration in the area. As the police vehicles passed in front of the apartment
house on several occasions, they were greeted with derogatory shouts by a number of the
inhabitants standing on the balconies. One police officer said that some rocks were thrown
at his car, which caused him to tell the people on the balconies to go back into their apart-
Down the street a short way from the apartment house was a black man who appeared
to be drunk and who was shouting profanities at the police officers as they drove by. When
the officers arrested him, the crowd on the apartment balconies became even more abusive.
The police state that in addition to verbal abuse, the crowd began openly to throw rocks and
bottles at the police cars.
The two squad cars on the scene called for assistance and within a short time a total of
20 police cars were in front of the apartment house. What took place following this is
sharply disputed. The police state that a shot was fired at them from a sniper on the roof,
that this was followed shortly after by additional shots from the apartment house, and that
the police returned the fire for a period of approximately two minutes. The inhabitants
claim that a police officer shouted "You niggers get your asses inside," and that a bottle, ac-
cidentally kicked, broke with a loud report near the police, at which point the police began
to shoot indiscriminately at the apartment house.
The Miami Police estimate that 10 rounds of ammunition were fired from the apart-
ment house at the police, and 40 rounds of ammunition were fired into the apartment house
by the police. The inhabitants claim that far more shots were fired by the police and dispute
that any shots were fired from the apartment house. Whatever the facts in this regard, the
result of the shooting was that one inhabitant of the apartment house was fatally wounded,
three were seriously wounded and nine received minor injuries, and one police officer was
wounded. Ambulances were called and the wounded removed to the hospital. There were
no further outbreaks in the area during the rest of the night.
9. THE TENSIONS EASE
Friday, August 9 to Tuesday, August 13
By midnight Thursday, August 8th, the area of civil disturbance was secure, as foot and
jeep patrols and anti-sniper squads reported only sporadic, isolated incidents during the re-
mainder of the night. A helicopter patrolled the area of disturbance throughout the night
and alerted ground patrols to any areas of activity. The few incidents reported chiefly in-
volved curfew violations. In fact, with the massive police force, the curfew, and the closing
of liquor stores and bars, the "activity" and crime rate was probably less than that of a typi-
cal Thursday night in Liberty City.
Friday morning was also quiet. Deputy Sheriffs and National Guardsmen continued to
patrol the riot area and to keep it closed off with road blocks, while the Miami Police and
Florida Conservation officers patrolled the perimeter. About noon, County Intelligence
Officers received information that both the Northside Shopping Center and Coconut Grove
would be fire-bombed, looted, and destroyed. These rumors, as well as rumors of the mak-
ing of "Molotov Cocktails" in the riot area proved to be groundless, however.
Late Friday afternoon, there was a major fire just west of Liberty City. This was rou-
tinely handled and provoked no new disturbances.
The curfew was imposed again on Friday night and the curfew area expanded to N. W.
27th Avenue on the West, Biscayne Bay on the East, N. W. 79th Street on the North, and
the Miami City limits to the South. (See Map III.) The ban on liquor sales continued.
Around 7:00 P.M. Friday, a heavy rain which lasted most of the evening enveloped
Dade County. The downpour caused people to remain indoors during the curfew hours and
further cooled activity within the riot zone. Amidst the relative calm, field units were by
midnight reduced to half their daytime strength. Fifty Sheriffs Deputies and seventy-five
National Guardsmen controlled strategic points within the riot zone.
Meanwhile, the Black Brothers for Progress, a group of young black activists indigenous
to Liberty City, had arranged for a Saturday morning conference with prominent Miami of-
ficials, including Congressman Claude Pepper, Mayors Clark and Hall, City Manager Melvin
Reese, County Manager Porter Homer, and City Commissioner Athalie Range. After a bois-
terous two hours at the Happy Miami Community Center, located in a grocery store at N. W.
62nd Street and 10th Avenue, the young blacks withdrew to their.headquarters at Tacolcy
Youth Center, one block away, and there continued to confer with the white leaders whom
they had invited.
At this conference with the officials, the Chairman, Willie Sims, a twenty-year old black
activist demanded the immediate release of all people arrested, a list of all people injured,
more black police on both the City and County forces, the withdrawal of Sheriffs Deputies
from Liberty City, no more white police in Liberty City, and the withdrawal of National
Guardsmen the following Monday.
When the meeting adjourned for lunch, the crowd, which had gathered outside moved
west on 62nd Street through 12th Avenue where it dispersed without incident. The white
officials did not return to the afternoon session allegedly because during the morning meet-
ing the Chairman had insulted and abused them, sometimes telling them to "shutup" and
"sit down on your ass."
Saturday evening was marked only by minor incidents. Twenty-five juveniles were re-
ported to have assembled at N. W. 17th Avenue and 92nd Street; and gunfire at N. W. 7th
Avenue and 22nd Street was reported but not confirmed. Later in the evening two small
fires were reported and a large gathering of blacks at the 46th Street Liquor Store, the closest
bar west of the curfew area, had also been reported but these occurrences were considered
routine for a Saturday night. With incidents subsiding and the area being relatively quiet at
midnight, field units of the National Guard, the Florida Highway Patrol, and State Beverage
Agents were reduced to a minimum, with those relieved remaining on a stand-by basis.
Sunday was also a day of relative calm. Local youth leaders called a Sunday afternoon
meeting at the offices of the Liberty City Council at 1260 N. W. 62nd Street. The meeting
was cancelled, when a group of only twenty-five appeared.
Plans were announced Sunday afternoon for a further reduction of police and National
Guard activity, but the curfew was still maintained.
Several minor incidents, including minor fires and small gatherings,-occurred early Sun-
day evening, but these had no significant connection with the riots. A major fire outside of
Liberty City later in the evening was determined to have probably been the result of two
"Molotov Cocktails," but there was no evidence connecting this directly with the civil dis-
turbances. Calls to the Miami Police advising that an armed band of juveniles was throwing
rocks at N. W. 36th Street and 23rd Avenue were also reported to the Sheriff, but an investi-
gation failed to disclose any disorders.
On Monday the intention to remove the last vestiges of the anti-riot forces was pub-
The National Guard and the Sheriff announced they would withdraw from the disturb-
ance area the following morning, leaving an observation post, and that the Miami Police
would then resume patrols of Liberty City. A skeleton force of approximately twenty
Sheriff's Deputies and fifty National Guardsmen was to remain on duty in Liberty City dur-
ing the interim. Shortly thereafter, Sheriff's Deputies and National Guardsmen were advised
that the curfew would not be effectuated that night.
On Monday afternoon, N. W. 64th Street, especially between 12th and 14th Avenues,
was checked for the production of "Molotov Cocktails" and none were discovered. That
night the curfew area was quiet and normal, although the Northside Shopping Center was
put under surveillance because of telephone threats, and the prohibition on liquor sales con-
tinued from midnight to morning.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, five blocks from the riot area, the fourth fatal-
ity occurred. Between 1:00 and 2:00 A.M. during a gambling session, one participant be-
came dissatisfied after losing his money and called the County Sheriffs Office. He advised
them that there was a man on the scene with a sawed-off shotgun and trouble was starting.
Two County officers were dispatched to the scene at N. W. 21st Avenue between 60th and
61st Streets. As they arrived, the participants began running with the exception of one man,
who when ordered to halt by the deputies, did so. As he turned around he was shot and
died shortly thereafter. This matter has been bound over at a Justice of the Peace hearing
and is currently under investigation.
Later Tuesday morning, the withdrawal of the last anti-riot forces began. By 2:30 P.M.
all Deputy Sheriffs and National Guard personnel had departed. The civil disorder in Miami
had run its course.
10. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS
Disorder and Riot
Chapter 4 of our Report is entitled, perhaps with undue drama, "The Riot Starts."
This is a short-handed way of describing our general observation that what took place before
then was a rather harmless and not uncommon type of expression of grievances combined
with general exuberance and letting off of steam. It could have been quickly checked or
controlled at almost any point of time by a firm, properly organized display of adequate
force. Although some of the characteristic black power manifestations were in evidence,
there was none of the virulence, irrationality, and almost obsessive law-breaking characteris-
tic of riots as we understand them. In many ways, these earlier actions seem to have been
more characteristic of an over-exuberant crowd at a hotly-contested sporting event which
police can keep within reasonable bounds, or perhaps more aptly, a tense labor relations
confrontation. This is not meant to denigrate the very real convictions of social, economic
and political injustice which lie at the basis of protest meetings such as that described in
Chapter 3 and the subsequent disorders. The point is rather that despite very real convic-
tions of injustice, their expression is often accomplished with physical restraint even when
accompanied by verbal excesses, which indeed themselves are often used with a certain
We do not purport to counsel the distinguished psychiatrists, sociologists and other ex-
perts of the Commission on this subject, nor do we specify with any great assurance the
time. when an easily-terminable disorder in Miami turned into a riot which.then fed on its
own momentum of violence and was far more difficult to stop. The time of this transition
may actually have been 2 P.M. Thursday (when the rescheduled meeting with the Governor
failed to materialize) rather than 7 P.M. Wednesday. And it is conceivable that the differ-
ence we speak of may be a mere matter of degree. From our study of the Miami disturb-
ances, however, it seems to us that there is some point in the development of a disturbance
when a quantum jump takes place and disorders with some more-or-less clearly definable
purpose or pretext turn into a riot which then prepetuates itself and seems to call forth less
articulate and more purely emotional forces far harder to deal with. That point, we believe,
was reached at 7 P.M. Wednesday, when the attack on the automobile with the Wallace
sticker took place.
Although the materials of the Miami riots are not extensive enough to shed much light
on the point, it would appear also that a similar shift in psychology and conduct can take
place among law enforcement personnel as well as among the rioters.
Press, Radio and TV
We have no doubt that the prompt dissemination of news concerning the development
of a riot may itself have an effect on the riot. In Miami, the broadcasting of the news, some-
times live from the spot, served to attract outsiders of the area, some bent on rioting and
looting and others merely attracted by the excitement. This no doubt enlarges the riot and
thereby makes the control job harder. The conflict thus created between the maintaining of
civil order and the free gathering and transmission of news is simple, classic, and difficult to
resolve. We do not purport to add anything to the conventional wisdom in this area.
A more recent and perhaps more difficult problem is whether the very presence of news
media, particularly TV cameras, at the scene of violence increases the amount or intensity of
the violence. On this point, we find the sharpest disagreement. Most police testimony is
that it does and that it "impedes law enforcement." Black leaders claim that it does not.
Our investigation found very little evidence on the point. There was one clear instance of a
man who had been denied passage through a police barricade, had grown angry, and then
calmed down, and then became very demonstratively angry when the TV lights and cameras
turned on him. There are indications although less precise, that disorderly crowds generally
may do more actively and energetically whatever it was they were already doing when they
go on camera. All of this concerns, however, what we have called the "disorder" phase of a
disturbance rather than the "riot" phase. There is no indication in our investigation that
looting and vandalism are increased by TV exposure, except for the fact that a massive TV
presence can apparently serve to make an existing disorder more energetic, wide-spread and
disorderly and thereby more likely to reach the critical point which turns it into a self-
Our conclusions on the communications media are disappointingly meager. The Miami
rioters were not consciously seeking publicity as were those in Chicago, and they apparently
had no plans to embarrass the police by provoking them to take unusually strong action in
view of TV cameras. If we assume the basic decision that a riot can freely be reported even if
this brings more rioters to the area, we do not see from our limited experiences that the
presence of the communications media significantly encourages or magnifies the violence un-
less the rioters are rioting at least in part for the very purpose of massive TV coverage.
Terror vs. Force
It is not unfair to characterize the Headley policy as one of keeping an underprivileged
and restless minority orderly and cowed by a constant visual display of force in its more
ominous and symbolic forms, e.g., shotguns and police dogs, coupled with frequent harshly-
executed acts of stopping and frisking or stopping for questioning, and whether consciously
planned or not, occasional acts of brutality. Quite apart from more basic legal and ethical
problems, the greatest failings of this policy are that it creates grievances which can accumu-
late until they actually cause a riot and that the training and equipping of police for the ap-
plication of such a policy does not prepare them to cope with a major riot once it starts. We
are not convinced that police dogs and shotguns can be used to quell a riot without wide-
spread indiscriminate and useless bloodshed and simultaneously sowing the seeds for future
disturbances. And once a riot starts, police dogs sitting in their mobile cages or shotguns
sticking out of the windows of police cars-the most usual modes of display-will have little
or no effect on the rioters.
Many of the City of Miami police officers who were at the disturbance seem to be
aware of this, at least in part. Almost uniformly they ask for more and better riot control
equipment. Some of the items they request seem somewhat more suited for outright war
than for riot control, but we think they are right in principle that riot prevention and con-
trol needs special equipment in adequate quantities and that this means something more
than shotguns and police dogs. We think, in short, that the use of instruments of terror to
hold potential disturbances in check eventually fails to hold them in check and then is of
little or no use in quelling a disturbance once it starts.
It is interesting also to note that many of the Miami Police officers in their reports com-
plain of the confusion and lack of organization and planning in the initial stages of the
Miami Police efforts to prevent and then control the riot. The picture of totally uncoordi-
nated Miami squad cars racing from spot to spot with sirens screaming which is implied in
some reports is undoubtedly exaggerated, but it is clear that many of the Miami Police were
very dissatisfied with the lack of planning and coordination by the Police Department. In
our judgment, this is not unrelated to the basic get-tough, show-of-force policy. Such a pol-
icy by its very nature discourages contacts with the potential rioters, knowledge of their
psychology, and sensitivity to how and where disturbances may break out. Since it relies
basically on frightening or cowing individuals or small groups by symbolic or token violence,
it takes little account of disorderly and riotous masses of people who may react in exactly
the opposite way to such attitudes and practices.
We do not purport to judge whether the City of Miami police could have eventually
brought the Liberty City disturbance under control or how long it would have taken. We do
conclude, however, that there was a basic and important difference between their anti-riot
actions and the Sheriffs use of a force of well-armed and trained police and soldiers equipped
with full anti-riot equipment proceeding, according to a clearly defined and understood plan,
to completely clear the area of disturbance with the use only of that force necessary to ac-
complish the objective.
We do not conclude that the disturbances would not have taken place had the Sheriff
been in charge of Liberty City at all times. We do conclude that long-term community rela-
tions programs and planning against the contingency of disturbances or riots on the part of
the Sheriff were substantially better than those of the Miami Police and that had the Sheriff
been in charge of Liberty City at all times the disturbances might not have gotten out of
hand. We do conclude that as events transpired, the City of Miami could well have asked at
an earlier time for outside assistance to secure a massive presence of armed force and that
the Sheriffs general strategy of stopping a riot once it has started was demonstrably superior
to that used by the City.
There appears to be no effective and continuous policy on the part of the City of
Miami to encourage recruitment of qualified blacks as members of its police force, although
a substantial portion of the population of the city is black. It also appears that the compara-
tively few black members of the force, for reasons unexplained, do not progress upwards
through the ranks to positions of administrative and command responsibility. The leaders of
the black community feel strongly that well-trained and motivated black police would be a
powerful riot preventative and positive community relations factor, particularly if some
black police occupied positions of responsibility on the force. There seems to be no substan-
tial feeling that blacks should be promoted just because they are black, but there is a real
conviction that a qualified black policeman does not get the same "break" as an equivalently
qualified white. In view of this attitude of the black leaders and the black community it
would appear that this is a matter deserving of serious consideration and affirmative action.
Non-Police Public Officials
It goes without saying that a disagreement on the scene of a riot over the powers of an
elected official, such as Mayor Clark of Miami, to give orders to police forces can do nothing
but create further confusion and tensions. We do not make any recommendations on the
matter of police command structure except that it must be crystal clear in advance.
As to the usefulness in general of non-police public officials at the scene of a riot, the
Miami experience suggests certain guide-lines:
(1) The public officials must know the purpose of their presence and appear con-
fident and at ease. Confusion and vacillation such as characterized the visit of some of-
ficials to Liberty City can be counter-productive.
(2) The public officials must be genuinely interested in the grievances of the
rioters or in quelling the riot, or both, and not appear in any way to be using the riot
as an opportunity to enhance their personal political fortunes or any political issue un-
related to the disturbance. It was only when Governor Kirk together with Ralph Aber-
nathy met with local black leaders, asked for a list of grievances, and promised to send
representatives to meet with them the next day that the appearance of non-police offi-
cials began to bear any tangible results.
(3) There is some question whether any substantive promises should ever be
made during the heat of a riot as opposed to promises to meet on substantive matters
when at least relative calm prevails. However, it is clear that any-promises, whether
substantive or procedural, made by public officials during a riot must be kept. Failure
to do so can make the riot worse, as witness the violent outbreak of Thursday, August
8, when the public officials, or their representatives, failed to appear at meetings as
(4) Credibility with a dissident group must be established before the rioting
starts, not during it.
Because of the unique relationship of elected officials to the public, including the riot-
ing public, the presence of officials on the scene can be helpful or it can be disastrous. There-
fore, the decision on their presence or absence should be a key element in the anti-riot strategy
and should be coordinated with those charged with the direct responsibility of quelling the riot.
On balance, the sudden appearance on the scene of elected officials, unbriefed and not acting
in coordination with law enforcement agencies, probably will do more harm than good.
Investigation of The Riot
By almost any standard, the Miami disturbances were minor except to those involved.
The number of personnel on both sides was comparatively small; the period of peak violence
was short; damage to persons and property was less than in many other recent civil disturb-
ances. Despite this, there have been numerous investigations of the Miami disturbances.
There have been investigations by the FBI to determine whether outside provocateurs or
subversives were involved and whether violations of Federal law may have occurred; there
have been investigations by local public prosecutor officers to determine whether there
were violations of State law; there have been investigations and critiques by the Miami
Police and the Dade County Sheriff's Department to determine the efficiency and effectiveness
of their practices and procedures and to determine whether any of their officers were guilty
of poor judgment or excessive use of force; there have been Justice of the Peace inquests of
the four fatalities; there was an investigation by the Dade County Grand Jury; and as this
report is being completed, the City of Miami has announced that it is actively commencing
its own investigation of the riots.
One would think that all of this investigatory activity would have produced a compre-
hensive and coherent picture of what was really a fairly limited and well-observed series of
actions, but such is not the case. Each one of these investigations had a more or less limited
objective, and not one of them has produced a report or document which gives an adequate
picture of the disturbances as a whole. The only thing approaching such a picture are the
reports of the two local general-circulation daily newspapers, the Miami Herald and the
Miami News-a fact which should be carefully considered by anyone proposing that the ac-
tivities of the news media be restricted in a riot area.
We were startled at the frequency with which the witnesses interviewed by our investi-
gators said that no one else had ever discussed the disturbances with them, and the frequency
with which other witnesses said that the only persons who had ever talked to them about
the riots were members of the press. We regard this as a highly unfortunate circumstance.
In addition to specific law enforcement purposes to be served by investigating a riot,
there is the important general public purpose of allaying or confirming suspicions of injus-
tice or brutality and of giving the injured and the bereaved the feeling that their stories and
complaints have fully been heard.
A concrete illustration of this is the conviction on the part of many of the black resi-
dents of the apartment house on N. W. 22nd Street, that there has never been a full investi-
gation of the shooting that occurred there on the night of Thursday, August 8, which re-
sulted in one death and several wounding. The homicide section of the Miami Police
Department investigated the incident but did not distribute any report. The inhabitants of
the apartment house feel that this investigation consisted exclusively of police interviews.
This investigation resulted in a report filed on September 17 which concluded that the shoot-
ing was accidental.
A Justice of the Peace inquest conducted by the State Attorney was scheduled for
September 4, but was continued until September 19 apparently to allow for the completion
of the Miami Police investigation and to permit matters to "cool down." The Justice of the
Peace hearing concluded that the homicide was accidental, but here again there was no de-
tailed public report, and again the inhabitants of the apartment house felt that they had not
had any real chance to be heard. The State Attorney's file shows that three of the wounded
inhabitants were asked by letter to testify; one had moved with no forwarding address, but
the other two apparently did appear. They were not, however, interviewed in advance. The
State Attorney's file shows that statements were taken from twenty-three Miami Police offi-
cers but does not show that any statements were taken from the inhabitants, a fact which
seems to be confirmed by our interviews of the inhabitants.
We shall not attempt in this Report to decide exactly what took place at the apartment
house at N. W. 22nd Street on Thursday evening, August 7. This would be a sizeable investi-
gatory job with much of the evidence already cold, and for the purposes of our investigation
the important fact is that when a riot starts in a community and knowledge of the riot is
wide-spread, tensions develop among both the population and the law enforcement officials
which can erupt into confrontations far more heated and dangerous than under ordinary
From the point of view of preventing such outbursts in the future, however, we feel
that there has been a significant error in public relations in the failure of any governmental
body to make an immediate, public and thorough investigation of the 22nd Street incident.
The widow of the man who was killed has told our investigators that no one had ever taken
the time to hear her story except the FBI and a newspaper reporter, despite her repeated
calls to various public officials. She was informed by a call from the State Attorney's office
that a hearing was to be held by the Justice of the Peace and told that she could attend if
she wished. She did attend but was never questioned although she had been with her hus-
band until just before he was shot. Other inhabitants of the apartment feel strongly and bit-
terly that they have never had an opportunity to tell their story, and in particular their con-
tention that the range of police fire was broader than any sniping would have justified.
We do not know what a complete investigation of the incident would have concluded.
It is possible that it would have confirmed the police account in its entirety, and while this
would undoubtedly have been received with skepticism by the black community, it would
at least have given them the assurance that their case had not gone unheard nor their com-
We have found the thought in some quarters that a matter like this should be permitted
to cool down and then concluded as expeditiously as possible, and that any prolonged inves-
tigation will merely serve to prolong hostile attitudes and tensions. While this may be sound
individual psychology in connection with a marital spat, we do not think that it is sound
mass psychology after an outbreak of serious violence. Thorough investigations of such inci-
dents followed by a public report would, we feel, help not only the attitudes of the injured
but also serve in the long run to help the morale of the law enforcement officers involved.
There are inevitably doubts in the community in general and even among members of the
police force itself as to what really occurred and these doubts are not good either for public
relations or internal morale in the long run. The simplest way to allay such doubts is a full
Official Reports of Dade County Department of Public Safety
Official Reports of City of Miami Police Department
Investigative Reports of State Attorney's Office, Dade County, Florida
Verbatim and Summarized transcripts of testimony of approximately 200 persons
Records of Public Defender, Dade County, Florida
Summary of City of Miami Municipal Court Records
The Miami Herald
The Miami News
Miami Police Strt
'Get Tough Poaic'
: ~L I0ughR P~loc11.c
By .IM SAVAGE
Herald Staff Writer
-Miami Pr'ice ChifWalt er-.
that his men will use shot-
guis,-dogs and a "get tough
policy" instead of community
relations programs .to cut
crime in the city's slums.
Headley said he. is "de-
claring war" on criminals
responsible for a sharp in-
crease in armed robberies
and shootings in Miami's
"Felons will learn that
they can't be bonded out
from the morgue," he said.
He said his men have
been told that any force, up
to and including death, is
proper when apprehending a
"Community relations and
all that sort of thing has
failed," Chief Headley said.
An Angry Headley
"I'm fed up with holding back," s tra dl
"People are getting robbed, beaten up and killed in record
numbers here in Miami and 85 per cent of all violent crimes
'"There are five well orga- .. -- ...
nized gangs of young Negrots ~ ''"',., "
operating here three in the
central Nporn risrtri.t nnp in
me no, h and one in the south :
-and they terrorize Negroes '
as well as whites..
"When we pick them up -
they. throw civil rights in our r -
face. They say they know we '-
can't do anything. to them.
They throw it right in our
Headley, Miami's police ..-...
chief for nearly two decades CHIEF HEADLEY
and usually a most cautious man, was worked up to fever
pitch. He had just finished a press conference with TV camer-
as and radio recorders whirling away.
.Fifty-eight crimes of violence over the holiday weekend.
- including three killings had touched Headley off. He
told all the assembled newsmen he was issuing shotguns to
.patrolmen, that he was trying to get more police dogs and
that extra men would be pulled off vice assignments and sent
on p-io.l.. .. _. .. ...
"We have done everything
we could, sending speakers
out and meeting with Negro
leaders. But.it has amounted
to nothing," he said.
"We haven't had any seri-
ous problems with civil
uprisings and looting because
I've 1' "... wura filter down
that when the looting starts,
the shooting starts," Chi.f
His statement was in sharp
contrast to recent comments
of Dade Sheriff E. W i1 s o'n
Purdy-who credited commu-
nity relations programs arif
special personnel training for
successfully preventing civil
,:'i "My men are getting tired
of felons being bailed out of
jail so quickly that they beat
the arresting officer back to
iis zone," Headley said.
i He said the major group
his "get tough". policy is
aimed, at is young 'Negro
males, from 15 to 21.
"Ninety per cent of oui-
Negro population is law abid-
ing and wants to eliminate
our crime problems," he said.
But 10 per cent 'are young
hoodlums who have taken
advantage of the civil rights
Miami Herald Dec. 27, 1967.
(Continued on next page /
After the press conference was over Headley invited me
to sit down and talk with him, Assistant Chief 0. E. Caudell
and Officer Jack Minix.
Headley was still pretty much in a froth. "I know these
guys aren't going to print or broadcast all the things I'm say-
ing," said the chief. "There seems to be a press policy against
saying a Negro has committed a crime. You're not supposed
to stir up hard feelings."
Headley said that Negro leaders and ministers who come
to his office take the same wrong tack as the young hood-
lums who talk about civil rights and alleged police brutality
rather than how to stop the crimes.
"Don't these people know that most of the crimes in the
Negro districts are against Negroes?" asked Headley. "Don't
they know we're trying to protect Negroes as well as
Chief Caudell broke in at this pint to explain the worst
problem in policing roving gangs of Negro hoodlums. The
problem is witnesses.
"When a man or woman gets robbed in the Negro section
we can't even get them to come down here and look at sus-
pects in a lineup," said Caudell. "In many cases they know
who robbed them or have a pretty good idea of the gang in-
volved, but they're afraid to be witnesses."
Headley said that, statistically speaking, witnesses to
crimes are seldom molested, but that we understood the fear
that prevails.in the Negro districts.
He pointed to the slaying of a bakery truck man earlier
this year by young Negroes. "There were 20 witnesses to this
crime," said Headley. "It should have been cleaned up in an
hour. But, do you know not one of those people ., .uld talk?
We got the people all right. But it took days and days."
I had realized at the press conference that Headley was
being most uncautious and was inviting criticism from every
civil rights group in Miami and the nation.
As he slowly uncoiled from his anger at the press confer-
ence, Hea-ley tried to explain his motives for the craL;down.
"I. couldn't sleep at night over the weekend worrying
about all this violence," explained Headley. "I knew we had a
job to do and it was time to get tough. I think it (getting
tough) is the only way we're going to stoy the violence."
I asked Headley if he knew any of the three slaying vic-
tims personally. He said yes, that he had known Jock Ling
Joe, a Chinese-American merchant killed Saturday well -
that he sat next to Ling at the last dinner given by Chinese-_
Americans given in Miami..
'But I .,a't want t- s,'v. l;.- ....i,. .-.. .., I'm dc:..,
this because of him," added Headley. "I feel just as bad about
the woman (Mrs:. Lydia Motycka) and the man (Joseph Mar-
*Officer Minix, a press assistant who had helped to ar-
range the news conference, interrupted at this point to tell
about a gang incident from the night before.
"A group of young Negro hoodlums beat up a police
officer," said Minix. "He summoned help and other policemen
rounded the boys up. But do you know what happened when
they took the boys to Youth Hall? They said they were full up
and to take the boys back home fo their parents."
Headley's frustration with Suprme Court rulings and
local court actions had come up in earlier conversations.
He said that earlier in the day he had received a call
from a person saying he was being threated by a man recent-
(Continued on next page)
ly picked up and charged with first degree murder. (This was
a white man, incidentally, and his victim was white.)
"I said it wasn't possible that a man charged with first
degree murder could be out on bond," said Headley. "But do
you know I was wrong? The man is out on bond."
Headley admitted that the shotguns which police will
carry and the police dogs he hopes to get for special duty
officers are largely psychological weapons. A shotgun isn't
nearly so deadly as a hand gun, but it attracts attention. A
dog acts only on command, but the dogs are feared. A patrol-
man making his rounds alone couldn't have a better ally than
"You don't know how lonely it is patrolling these high
crime sections," said Officer Minix. "You're laying your life
right on the line."
When I left Headley late yesterday I knew that he had
stepped on a very large hornet's nest. Sure enough, Negro
leaders today were blasting the veteran chief with every.
thing from threats to get his job to calling him Fascist.
Did Headley realize he was inviting all this trouble? I'm
sure he did. He emphasized time after time as reporters asked
questions that he was doing it (getting tough) All on his own;
He said 1. hadn't consulted the mayor, Steve Clark, ..d that.
City Manager Melvin Reese is on vacation.
Will Hadley get any public support? Perhaps, but it'll be
mostly the silent variety. Anything involving racial problems
scares the bejabbers out of responsible, white community
Healey's best point, I felt, was that the law abiding
Negr', com'.munlty (which he estimates at 90 per cent of the
pop ,!atiorj ar-- '"- ,.. -y victims of violence. What do
Y'co leaders prc -r: to do about' this?
But when the fir.. young Negro is felled ty a sh. '-'L
blast or chevy, tc by e police dog, Chief Headlr, ',ad l~ !r
. 'ch out frr the reactio-.
He has 'aid his job on the line and he knows i'..
Miami Herald -
Dec. 27, 1967.
Chief Defends His Stand
At A Crowded Hearing
By WILLIAM TUCKER
and MORTON LUCOFF
Reporers of The Miaml News
A Miami City Commission-
er accused Police ChiecZL
ter Headtoday ot making
"if rmi-matory" statements
about Negro crime here
which could give the city "a
black eye through the na-
Commissioner M a u r I c e
Ferre's complaint was the
first break in the solid front
the five-member commission,
had put behind the chief in
his determination to wipe out
Ferre spoke out as the
commission met with Head-
ley and Negro leaders to
hear a "clarification' of his
decision to use shotguns and
police dogs in the Negro
section and "stop and frisk"
The chief's declaration last
Tuesday focused national
attention on Miami and
arouglit denunciation from
Negro leaders. Headley also
has received many expres-
sions of support in his tough
stand, promoted 'by three
murders in four days in the
More than 200 spectators
jammed the tiny commission
room and flowed into the
aisles at the Dinner pov
AudtoRnum. Iney included
eight youths four white
and four Negro standing
at the door with pistol tar-
gets drewn on their backs.
They were symbolic tar-
gets of Headley's crime war
gunners, they said.-
(Continued on next page)
Headley briskly defended
his get, tough policy before
the commission and the
crowd, but said it is "not our
purpose to get involved in
"My job is to protect life
and property," Headley said.
"I am going to do everything
j can do to do th.L."
He pointed out that at. his
original press conference on
the new policy he did not.
mention Negro criminals
specifically. But when asked
afterward how the races
were involved in crime, and
where the incidence of crime
was highest, he answered
bluntly. At the time, he said
only three white men were
involved in 58 crimes all
of them in the Negro sec-
Commissioner Ferre said
the police are free to use
shotguns and other arms but
he did not think Headley was
wise to attack the state of
race relations in the city.
This was "inflammatory"
talk, he said. The chief had
said community relations had
Headley again defended
his previous answers to ques-
. tions about Negro involve-
mnent in crime. He also said
wh n he had been asked
about police brutality he
repi.. 4 *hat "My police offi-
cer: e been charged with
po!!ce brutality so often they
are used to it."
Miami Herald Dec. 29, 1967.
Ferre Lone Commission Critic
Ge t-T ugh
By MIKE POWER
Herald Staff Writer
MiamiJ. lice Chie alter
Mrl~iniy, sometimes angry
crowd of Negroes over and
over again Friday his new
get-tough anti-crime policy is
not aimed at Negroes alone.
He promised not to look at
color when 'enforcing the
law. Dogs and shotguns will
be used with caution, hq
voved. "Everyone knows I'rn
not a racist."
But he did not retreat front
his earlier vow to maki
young toughs know the pok
lice mean business.
With the exception of
Mauri Ferre, commission-
ern generally supported Head-
ley's get tough approach
and by their silence affirmed
lerre called the. snogun
a d dog approach "intemper-
ate and uncalled for" and
said the initial statements
the chief was quoted as mak-
ng were inflammatory. "
Several commissioners did,
however, take exception to
Headley's comments that
cUmaMniy rtiwm hav
And some, speaking to a
crowd of Negroes, whites,
Chinese, adults and children
as well as placard-wearing
youths that spilled out of the
commission chambers into
the foyer and to a balcony
overhead, asked his assur-
ance that there would be. no
"The police alone can't do
all the job. It takes the coop-
eration of all con *erned,"
Mayor Steve Clark sa d.
"I publicly would like to
compliment the Community
Relations Board We
,plan to maintain this type of
stability and this type of
(Continued on next page
Headley's stand, she wants
proof it is aimed at crime
and not harassment.
"There is not a citizen,
white or Negro, who is-not
interested in better living, in
better law enforcement."
But, she said, the vast,
majority of Negroes stand in
fear of police harassment.
"We do not feel that we
are safe in just having it said
there is going to be a get
tough policy without discrim-
ination. Are they (the police)
going to devote their atten-
tion to felons or are they
going to harass as happened
the other night?"
Mrs. Range was referring
'to a police shakedown of
customers in a Central Dis-
trict bar Wednesday night.
"It 'is certainly not our
intent to be involved in'any
sort of harassment," re-
sponded Headley. "We have
those things happen. We
can't help it once in a while(
Ferre said he felt Head-
ley's get-tough comments
earlier this week were "infla-
matory and the type that will
not only give Miami a black
eye throughout the nation
hut will also cause all types
"We are adding to our-
problems rather than trying
to solve them intelligently
Assuming these quotes
are correct, I can only say
our chief is at best overzeal-
ous in his statements."
Commissioner David Ken-
nedy was Headley's staunch-
"We have to realize we
have a crime problem here
and most of those crimes are
committed by Negroes and
,most of those crimes are
committed against Negroes.
Miami Herald Dec. 27, 1967.
eadley. Sees Headley;
Image Was Blurred
By DAVE BEHRENS
Herald Staff Writer
Police Chief W r ea-
dley t on his Invi ng-rbWo
sof, surrounded by letters
and telegrams watching
Chief Headley on color tel-
". no license to kill,"
the slightly out-of-register
colot image on the big screen
was telling a panel of inter-
Chief Headley, was not
concerned with his image
Sunday afternoon. He had,
after all, more than 700 tele-
grams and letters praising
the "get tough with crime"
dotrine h~:;. ad 'pronounced
hfve" day3'before. Not one
glimmer of disapproval in the
entire stack, he said.
The veteran Miami choice
however, did want to bring
his shotgun-and-dog ap-
proach int- *'et:.
IH was u.re t'an hopeful,
he said, *';. his men would
rar-y -Jt the ief-declared
war on crime la the city's
Negro section with restraint
The air would not be filled
with shotgun pel!cts, he said.
The r.*- ",'"" '.- h.
patroled by snarling police
dogs. Stop-and-frisk would
not be used promiscuously.
Leaders in the Negro ghet-
tos, shocked at Headley's
hope he is right.
They are alarmed that
innocent citizens, not hood-
lums, would be the victims of
Indiscriminate police power
focused on the Negro sectors.
Headley explained Sunday
why he decided to issue the
open declaration of war on
crime in the ghettos. The
issue, he sa&., was not race.
Civil rights leaders might
express concern, but the man
on the street, including many
Negroes, shared his view'on
crime, the chief claimed.
"At least 6U of-the tele-
grams were from Negroes,"
Headley noted with special
"This is an issue I had
been thinking about for
months," he begai, "The
crime rate in Miami was
rising and frankly, I couldn't
sleep. I'm not doing my job, I
thought to myself."
The crime rate charts Hea-
dley spoke of showed a total
of 90 robberies in the city
during 1966, the chief'said.
During the first 11 months of
this year, he said, the total
"At least 85 per cent of
these crimes were in, the
Negro sections in the
-central district between Fifth
and 22'nd Streets, in Coconut
Grove, in Liberty City and
othet Negro areas," Headley'
The breaking point came
"During that three-day
holiday, Miami had 31 armed
robberies and 27 strong-arm
holdups. Three people were
killed," Headley said.
Of those 58 robberies, said
the chlef,'55 were committed
by Negroes, almost all in
(Continued on next page)
It was then, he said, that a
special meeting of his brain-
trust was called. Shotguns
would be issuedto patroling
officers. Dogs would be used.
Suspects would be stopped
and- frisked. "They can't bail
out o' ,o morgue," Headley
Sia replied' that first day in
an' wer tc a questioning re-
The phrasing of his "get
tougl decision did not draw
the unanimous approval that
Headley's telegram count
seems to reflect. Civil rights
leaders were--dsturbed over
cL,. chi-f apparent disre-
gard for a continuing com-
munity relations approach.
"I. .don;t,- regcr-a. ermrr.
..thia-.I've. said,''" He.adley
declared without hesitation
But he did clarify and, In
some ways, soften the image
of his war on crime in these
SHOTGUNS: "Only known
felons fleeing capture, black
or white, will draw fire. Our
men !mow they are not to
use their weapons unless
they're sure who they're
DOGS: "There will be no
dogs roaming the streets.
Dogs will continue to bet
used on leashes. They are
well-trained. They will be
used more often in ways we
have not used them before
but they will terrorize no one.
I assured the governor's of-
fice of that point specifically
when one of his aides raised
STOP ANID fIi TSF"'t' a
good law. We donl'w.'aantto
lo. AeIiW.e'ie-not. going to
abuse it. There'll be no -in-
crease in stop-and-frisk."
TIONS: "I think the Commu-
nity Relations koard has
done good work and I've said
so before. It was their work
that prevented a small scale
Miami Herald Jan. 1, 1968.
looting incident by juveniles
after the Orange Blossom
parade from spreading-to the
Headley pointed out that
although his phone is listed
under Walter Headley Jr.,
there have been no angry or
threatening phone calls since
the "get tough" policy was
.The telegrams, he said,
have been very satisfying.
Most were short and serious,
congratulating Headley- for
"cou-age and wisdom," urg-
ing him to resist "outside
pressures that try to distort
But sE-o'us r ,;,- laints
over ue tor of Hea 'ey's
campaign have b1en lod-ed,
and Headley kno .i it.
He will not ba,.k do'.n on
the shotgun. and-dog ap-
proach. It is clear in his own
view that the cop on the beat
will not translate these
weapons into a reign of ter-
trif ~ Te Nsgro ghettos.
T', s'- hi critic 'maintain.
is the question the new year
SBy GEORGE KENNEDY
Herald Staff Writer
Miami Police Chie alter
H Madley onday sides eped
t-reqiest from the Commu-
nity Relations Board that he
clarify his "get tough" policy
to reaffirm his intention to
ignore racein enforcing the
law. I b l.s8 .
The request was contained
in a five-page letter from
CRB Chairman Harry Cain
aroused in the Negro con.""'
nity by Headley's Dec. 26
announcement of a "shot-
guns and dogs" approach to
cutting crime in the Negro
Headley's reply was a
three-paragraph letter and a
copy of the Miami police
department's training bulle-
Cain said that, while the
response wasn't quite what
he had hoped for, "I am
reading into it what I really
believe the chief's position to
.Cain had suggested that
Headley reply by "reaffirm-
ing you: determination to
uphold the policy and proce-
dures in your training bulle-
Headley told Cain he was
"at liberty to reproduce" the
training bulletin but the chief
took no position in his letter
on the bulletin's pledge to
"enforce the law impartially
without regard to race, creed,
color, national origin or situ-
ation in life."
Cain had suggested in his
letter that the police depart-
ment distribute the bulletin
to "tens of thousands of
Headley gave no indication
whether this would-be done.
The day after The Herald's
story of his news conference,
however, Headley congratu-
lated the reporter who wrote
it for its fairness and com-
,Continued on next page)
Cain wrote Headley after
Negro members of the CRB
said many Negroes believe
the chief intends "to wage
war against people inst ;.-'
He said the purpose of the
letter was to give Headley
the opportunity to deny any
Miami Herald Jan. 16, 1968.
S9 uld B
nerel sJf#ll Wrilir
The b40mi Dro! J chief
agreif''WednesdIay with the
Onyor of a~cago that
an arsonPrf is a murderer
Ctef(WValter J. Headly
sad M ayo aey
was right when he ordered
the fatal shooting of arson-
ists and the gunfire crippling
.nat could have been me
talking," Uaadlay astd ar'
It was Headley. who after
a series of almost daily
armed robberies in the Cen-
tral Negro District, ordered
shotgun hearing officers and
police dogs into the area last
*There has been a policy
of appeasement all over the
country," Headley said, 'and
it is not going to accomplish
anything The job of the po-
lice Is to protect life and
property, preserve the peace
and enforce the law.
"The only way to do that
is to meet force with force,
because that Is all the looters
'We are dealing with less
than five per cent of the
population," the chief said,
"and that part couldn't care
less a-t rWiv' :. T:
them it is only an excuse to
loot and burn."
Headley claimed his own
type of crackdown was suc-
c-ssful in two respects.
Using the city's "stop and
frisk" law, the chief said,
"we've picked up an average
of 135 guns from hoodlums
And the number of anned
robberies dropped from 91
last December to 40 in Janu-
ary, 36 for February, and 31
Miami Herald April 18, 1968.
By GARY GOW
And MILT SOSIN
Miami News Repolrers
Occe Chie aiI-
Ifold a group of Miami
Pegro leaders today he never
made a ".hoot-to-kill" state.
ment attributed to him'and
that in backing Mayor Daley.
of Chicago he was refer
to riot conditions in that c
The Negro leaders, hea
by City Commissioner
Athalie Range, called
Headley "because the st
ring meant has inflamed the Ne-
ity. groes of this community,"
ded Mrs. Range said.
on (Continued on next page)
; P, -. 1 KL^Li t i
MRS. RANGE HEADLEY
Among those who aecom.
panied Mrs. Range to the
chiefs office for what she
described as a "round table
discussion," were City-Iant.
ager Melvin Reese, Bernard
Dyer, director of the Liberty
City Comnunity Council, and
Garth Reeves, editor of The
Mrs. Range said there was
"no particular spokesman"
for the group, which she said
numbered about 10 or 12, but
that "we all spoke what was
in our mind.
'We don't believe Miami
deserves to be compared to
Chicago," Mrs. Range said.
"There has been complete
cooperation by the commu-
nity.here and because of this
no trouble has arisen.
"The stateme t attributed
to Chief Headley was l*flam-
matory and deserved to be
The statement attributed
to Headley gained circulation
following the Chicago riots
when Mayor Daley said that
arsonists and looters should
be shot on sight.
Headlcy, who on Dec. 26
had instituted a "get tough"
policy on Negro crime which
ha d caused considerable
comment throughout the
nation, was asked to com-
ment on Dalcy's orders and
the Miami chief backed bp
the Chicago mayor.
Today Headley said, "I did
not make the statement attri-
buted to me.
"I only agreed with the
Chicago Mayor -- speaking
of the situation in Chicagom
"When I Instituted my 'get
tough' policy I was not
think...g of the pussibuity ot
riots but only of crime. Since
the 'get tough' policy' went
Into effect. last Dee. 26,
crimes of armed robbery,
purse snatching and murder
in the commission of felonies
have dropped 62 per cent in
the Central Negro Dictrict
and 50 per cent in the city."
Mrs. Range referred to the
case of two policemen who
were accused of hanging a
Negro youth from a bridge
by his ankles.
She also brought up re-
ports made to her that the
day after Headley's purport.
ed statement. Miami police
ranged up and down NW
62nd Street, in the Negro
district, ordering Negroes to
Hecdley, in reply, quoted a
paragraph of the police train-
ing manual, which, he says,
"Police officers of the City
of Miami will enforce the law
and perform their other du.
ties professionally and im-
"Violation of this policy
will result in prompt discipli-
nary action and, if warrant-
;d, may result even in crimi-
*Headley said he believed a
better community under-
standing would evolve ftom
"Community relations in
i ; .. 11 iiv aitVd ; a O uZ u
good," he kdded.
Asked why the Miami
police department did not
have a community-relatiohs
program similar to those of
some other police depart-
ments, Headley replied:
-"Th' whole Miami police
department is involved in
community relations. It is
taught in the police acad-
Miami News May 2, 1968.
By MilE PETIT
Herald Staff Writer
Mia Police Chief alter
Headley under .severe cr1-
-iismlfor his get tough state-
ments, Thursday clarified his
position after a closed-door
session with city officials.
And the official policy
came out somewhat softer
than what had been indicat-
Headley said he told a dele-
gation headed by Miami
Commissioner Athalie Range
that his policemen would
enforce the letter of the
law whether broken by an
individual criminal act or
This Included, Headley
said, to "shoot when neces-
It was the chief's agree-
ment with a similar state-
ment made by Chicago May-
or Richard Daley that
touched off the recent criti-
cism and led to Thursday's
Said Mrs. Range, "I earn-
estly feel N --'"-'*: tn.
day are at their lowest ebb in
the City of Miami." Head-
ley's support of Daley's
statements, she added, had
"aroused feeling of many
people in both the Negro and
Headlq Xm uphanid that ha
didn'tt deny a thing" during
the morning meeting, though
he added all his responses at
the time he made his state-
ment were in. answer to con-
ditions as they existed in Chi-
cago at the time.
... letter of law
When asked directly to
elaborate on what courses of
action his policemen would
take if there were a major
disturbance, Headley said It
was necessary to break down
cluninal acts hinu three ,;:.
Snipers, he said, "should
4 ceive no warning" by po-
licemen and. like the second
category of offenders -
arsonists -- should be ap-
proached as individuals en-
gaged in an act of murder.
The looter "should be giv-
en the opportunity to surren-
der to arrest," Headley said.
In the event of resistance,
police should "use anything
it takes, including death, to
"We "have one of the best
(police forces) in the country.
They know law and use their
heads," Headley said. The
chief said his orders to the
Miami police force was to
follow the letter of the law in
apprehending law breakers..
"Our people are very well
instructed," he said. .
Attending the conference
with Headley n .his office
were Mrs. Range; City Man-
ager Melvin Reese; Bernard
Dyer, director of the Liberty
City Community Council and
Garth Reeves, editor of The
Reeves, in an editorial last
week, called for Headley's
resignation due to his en-
dorsement of Daley's state-
Reeves said "not a great
deal of clarification was
reached" at the meeting "but
I think he understands our
side a little more."
He said Headley appeared
to embrace the philosophy
that he could bluff the law-
less element in the Negro
community "by holding a
club over their heads.'
Pointing out that the law-
less element was only "three
or four per cent," Reeves
said Headley's remarks were
having an opposite effect.
"They are serving more to
Inflame the young militants
in the area."
Dyer said Headley refused
to retract any statements he
made in the past but "indi-
cated he would be more care-
ful in the future."
Among quotes attributed
to Daley was one that or-
dered Chicago police to
"shoot to kill" arsonists and
to "shoot to maim or cripple"
Headley, last Dec. 26, or-
dered a "get tough" policy
on crime that he said has
resulted in a 62 per cent de-
crease in armed. robbrey,
purse snatching and murder
in the Central Negro Dis-
trict and 50 per cent decline
in other parts of the city.
Miami Herald May 3, 1968..
Negroes Attack 'Get Toug' Polif
Juvenile Court Gets Tough, Too ............ 11
Charles Whited Views the Controversy ,. .... 11.
By GEORGE KENNEDY
Herald Staff Writer
Some of the people who
live in Miami's Negro areas
said Wednesda that Police
Chi Walter Headleypicked
the wors possieway to
emphasize their desperate
need for better police protec-
tion. / <-
Headley announced Tues-
day that "we're going to use
shotguns and dogs" to crack
down on the young Negro
hoodlums he, blamed for a
recent upsurge of violent
crime in the city ,-):"7 (, 0 j "i
His "get tough" 'policy
dre w immediate backing
from several city commis-
sioners and the all-white
.Downtown : Kiwanis Club.
State and national Negro
leaders, and the Miami chan-
ter of the American Civil
Liberties Union attacked him.
But residents of the ghet-
toes, some of them prom-
inent and some not, avoided
James Matthews, lawyer
and former Assistant U.S.
Attorney, said "the idea is a
good one, on hoodlums."
"But I think a lot Of stress -
Is being put on law and order
and too little on law and
justice, which is the real way
of attacking the problem."
It's a very real problem,
said one Negro merchant
who asked that his name not
"I'm afraid every time I.
open my store. I've cut down
'ny hours._becausp "',n afraid
whose job it is to know what
is going on in the plums, said
the youths are saying "If the
police are 'looking for war, ,
war is what they're gonna,
.-, wouldn't take much
If you want to- have a
: '-./' w t take Ih' :..
riot, let, 'em Start .stopping
and frisking and shooting
people," said Johnson, a
poverty program neighbor-
hood center director.
Johnson and others dis-
puted Headley's contention
that "community relations
and all that sort of thing,,
The Miami police, unlike
'the Metro Sheriff's Depart-
ment under Sheriff E. Wilson
Purdy, have neVer had an
effective community .rela-
tions program, they said.
"There's no disagreement
that we need good law en-
Sforcement," Johnson said,
biat he added "There are.
some trigger-happy police-
men waiting for this kind of
thing. A lot of those guys are
'afraid of black people."
. Father Theodore Gibson,
longtime Negro leader, said
he considers Headley a friend
but "I thought his statement
Father Gibson said he
hopes a meeting of Negro
leaders can be arranged to
frame a repvl to Hed''-
One of those leaders, Dr'
George Simpson, president of
the local branch of the
NAACP, said, "I would hope
that he is not giving a signal
to his law enforcement' offi-
cers to revert to the enforce-
ment practices of 15 or 20
'years ago when, In too many
instances to be black wag to
Willie Freeman, 37, a lawn
worker, felt "it's a little too'
.much. I don't think he should
use all that-violence, and I
-don't think he should pick on
the Negroes only."
Gene Mobley, 37, of 1180
NW Third Ave., said "No:'
!body's for open violence, but
we're not for a police state,
SThe only way to stop
crime, he said, "is to catch
the people who commit the
crime and put them away for
good." He was referring, he
said, to short prison sen-
Ftences that allow criminals
'get a lawsuit'
to return to their neighbor-
hoods again in a short peri-
od. "But you can't put the
town under martial law."
Edmond Baker, a 36-year-
old waiter, supported the
chief's new program.
(Cotinued on next pae)
"I definitely think some-
thing should be done. The
situation is outrageous," he
said. "As long as their tactics
are controlled. I'mr in favor of
SDaniel Smith, a 40-year-old
brickmason, said crime was
allowed to get out of h:.xd.
"They should have made
some effort before now. This
is only going to make trouble
for the city and-cause hard
feeling between both races,"
The policy Headley an-
nqunced took .effect Tuesday
night, with the Negro areas.
being patrolled by 16 un-
marked cars, each carrying-
three men including one with
Eight cars with dogs, the
drivers armed with shotguns,
were also on the streets
along with the regular eight
"zone" cars, most now car-
rying one white and one
Detective Bureau personnel
have been' shifted to put
more on the night shifts in
the robbery and homicide
Headley said Wednesday
Lt.- _.:". "nmunity
relations efforts "will never
have any good effect on the
small minority of hoodlums."
He said, however, he
,thinks community relations
programs. may be-i-hlping'
ease some tensions in the
"When we had -a recent
situation where 35 or 40
young Negroes started loot-
ing stores during the Orange
Blossom Classic parade,
thousands of Negroes watch-
ing the parade refused.to join
"Maybe good community
relations helped in tha-t ii-u -
tion," he said.
Miami Herald Dec. 28, 1967.,
Chief Headley said. his
department Is not abandon-
ing all community relations
programs "But we have
accepted the fact that these
programs are not affecting
criminal activity of the hard
core criminal element."
"There is always the prob-
lem that these community
relations programs may be
interpreted by some citizens
as a form of appeasement.
"We intend .to continue
our 'get tough' policy to cut
down on crime and hope that
relations programs may help
with long range" solutions,"
He said he is confident
that a show of force by his
shotgun carrying patrolmen
in the Negro areas will not
have a damaging affect on
overall human relations ef-
"The only ones who will
be affected by our show of
force ind get tory,' policy
will u, the .i. final he
By GEORGE KENNEDY
Herald Staf. Writer
Patrolman E. D. Putman
rides the Central Negro Dis-
trict from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A
german shepherd named Lad
shares his cruiser.
Putman went into the cen-
tral district almost a month
ago. He is part of the extra
force dispatched into Miami's
.Negro areas by Police Chief
alter Hpealeyin a .cracl
down on what ..the. chic
called "young hoodlums tal
ing advantage of. the. civil
The streets are safer now.
Police statistics show I..
And the change is easy t,.
sec. The young men wht
clustered on the sidewalk of
Second Ave. even in the
daytime aren't there now.
The green-and-white patrol
cars with steel mesh between
front and' back seats are
much more in evidelice.
The merchants, the wom.
en, the winos who used to
be attacked are 'grateful to
the police, even the white
ones like Putman.
But Putman, a man who is
concerned about such things,
thinks he is also winning the
acceptance and grudging
respect of the young men.
Ther -s evidence he's
"The cops are taking ad-
vantage of the situation. My
friends have been harassed in
bars and pol rooms. People
"They will eventually get'
tired and and say to hell with
The speaker was a 23-
year-old resident of NW First
Ave. He was angry and sul-
len. His mood is widely
IT WORRIES many people
who work with that intangi-
;le called community r a-
tions, but it does n -' appear
to worry greatly H,.adley or
his field commanders.
This heat's going to go on
(Cbnt#iudanm nxt pae)
as long as we've got the pub.
lic with us." said Lt. Charles'
Renegar, c( mmander of the
60-man task force to which
Putman is attached.
The strategy being fol-
lowed by the task force is
based on their conclusion
that the crimes of violence
prevalent in the Negro areas
are perpetrated by the gangs
of "Negro males aged 15 to
25" who hang on the street
corners and in the bars and
The victims, a study of the
records showed, were in
most cases purse-carrying
women, helpless drunks and,
less frequently, shopkeepers
Many of the strong-arm
crimes were committed in
So Putman and two other
"dogmen" .now, patrol the
central district "ii the day-
time, when one man formerly
was there. The dogs are kept
in. the vehicles, except for
brief exercise walks or occa-
sions when a building is
checked. They are a deter-
rent force, there to see and,
more Important, be seen.
Putman keeps a notebook,
jotting down names and de-
scriptions of everybody he
talks to. When one youth
asked why, he smiled.
"I want to know you the
next time I see you."
Canine cars also work the
Liberty City area.
AT NIGHT, the rest of the
tadk force goes to work.
Traveling in teams, shotguns
in their, cars but not used so
far, the officers roam the
"high crime" zones.
They break up street-cor-
ner group. aea i unI. --
halls and bars to demand
Identification from the pa-
trons. There are arrests for
vagrancy and more serious
Intent of all this is. to'dis-
turb the potential trou-
blemakers, make them change
their ways of operation and
keep them under surveil-
The police, the people they
are out to protect, even the
people who see themselves as
persecuted all agree that the
gangs have been broken up,
at least for the moment The
incidence of violent crime'is
aown dramatically from De-
"It takes fear out of me -
just the fact that he comes
around," Mrs. Carrie Morley
said of the officer newly
assigned to the area around
her tiny grocery store on NW
She has been robbed once,
Henry Ross, a beer truck
driver, agreed that Headley
has finally taken a step long
"There's no other way it
can be done. Otherwise, it's
not safe to walk the streets.
You can't live in peace."
Ross has been held up
three times in six months.
"IF IT GETS any worse,
I'm gonna have to quit riy
job. I got a family to support.
I can't lose my life."
David McMil:an. 50, man-
ages Clyde's Recreation on
"I don't see any 'harm in
the policy myself. We all
knew something had to be
done. The police don't bother
"I get along with both law
-n 1,inodlums. For- Second
Ave. it's done a whole lot."
Fear lives with many resi-
dents of the ghettoes.
"From the time the sun
goes down I'm. scared to go
out the door unless I got
something in my hand," said
62-year-old John Rawls.
"You can't walk Third
Ave. unless you got a gun."
More police mean fewer
"jitterbugs" on the corner to
"Since the police b e e n
around here, you don't see
too many of 'em."
There is another side to
the story, though. The view
is different from the side-
A HERALD REPORTER
was talking with several men
on a corner in the Central
Negro District early one
night when a car with two
policemen drove up.
"Give me this sidewalk,"
said one officer. Several of
the. en accepted without
'L*a .ZCS to di,-
Two who didn't were or-
dered to the car to produce
identification. The reporter,
himself a Negro, and another
man continued talking. One
of the policemen motioned
them to the car.
"I was just talking to this
reporter here," the man said.
The policeman looked
surprised, said "Oh, I didn't
recognize you" to the report-
er, and drove away.
A teenager said several
boys were standing on a
corner when two officers
came up and ordered them to
put their hands on the wall
to be searched.
"One boy jumped like he
was being tickled by the
officer," the youth said, "and
this cop with a shotgun
cocked ft and said, 'Boy, you
better be still 'cause this gun
goes off very easily.' "
James Jackson, 17, said, "I
got stopped when I was
going home from Royal Cas-
tle. Asked me where I was
going. Some of them when
-tey stop you, will get nasty
and start cursing.
"COLORED policemen are
doing that just because
whitey is pushing them.
'They took me to jail one
time for loitering. I just
walked into the poolroom
and this cop took me by the
arm and told me to stand by
"I stayed in jail four days
for It. All he asked for was
an ID and I had that I asked
why he was taking me to fal
and he said they had to do
"Then he drove me over by
Sixth Ave. and told me to get
out of the car and he said
'When I count to three I
want you to get out and run.'
"So I got out and started
walking and he called me
back and said 'Did votuear..
what I said?' so I started
Lt. Renegar said his men
never take shotguns into the
plates they check out.
He also said, "I have yet to
receive any complaint about
any of my merk in cond'"-g
MORE important than
whether Hepburn's and
Jackson's stories are wholly
or even partially true is that'
they are being told and be-
lieved among.those who con-
rider police their natural
Headley and his men are
taking no great pains to
ease that impression.
Edward Hepburn, 18, told.
a similar story:
"I was shooting pool and
this sergeant came to the
door with another officer
who came in the back door
with a shotgun; Everybody
stopped playing but me and
the sergeant said 'When you
see me coming I want you to
"So I asked nm why and
he said 'cause you're my
enemy.' He put re in his car
and told me 'wken I talk to
you, I want you ito talk to me
nice,' so I started saying.
Renegar considers the
publicity given the chief's
'"shotguns ,and dogs" an-
nouncement "one of the best
things that's happene' to the
Some important elements
of the public are disturbed by
the racial overtones they
heard /in Headley's words.
Several Negro members of
the Community Relations
Board -said they have re-
ceived complaints oftpolice
"harassment" and discour-
Both Negro and white
members, while declining to
be quoted by name, -said
privately and emphatically
they were particularly upset
that Headley chose not to
take the opportunity offered
him by r'RB chairman Harry
Cain to remove the racial
sting from his Dec. 26 an-
They cited by comparison
figures showing that crime
increased only one-fourth as
much last year in that part of
the Liberty City-Brownsville
area patrolled by the Sher-
iff's Department as in the
rest of Dade County.
Sheriff E. Wilson Purdy
has devoted intensive com-
munity relations efforts to
Community relations, Ne-
gro leaders say, has never
been a strong point of. the
Miami Police Department.
Headley appears to have put
his faith in tough action rath-
er than soft words.
THERE IS -a question, at
least in the minds of many in
the ghettoes, how long the
crackdown will last.
Renegar insists it can and
will go on indefinitely. Most
of the men being used were
already assigned to his task
force, which he calls the
department's "mobile strik-
The canine men are now
working six-day weeks but
Renegar says more dogs are
being trained to ease that'
Still, .4..ei o0 me older"
people fear, and some of the
younger ones are counting
on, an easing of the pressure
sooner or later.
One policeman speculated.
that the intensive effort will
be called off in a mohth or so
and then reapplied if gang
activity increases again.
The most important ques-
tion since most of the
white community seems to
be behind Headley may be
whether the angry young
Negroes will come to accept
the behavior patterns the
police are trying to force onr
Miami Herald- Jan. 29, 1968.1
Dis li ed
By GEORGE KENNEDY
Htrild Stiff wrl!er
Relations between tfhe
police and the Negro commu-
nity are strained in the best
On both sides there is mis-
trust, dislike and fear.
But.there is also, in these
"'ff-"-lt: *-+ m:nt-al de-
The police cannot maintain
law and order without the
cooperation of the black
The black community, at
least the vast majority of it,
is worried about the high
crime rate and, concerned
about Inadequate police pro-
tection. Brutality is a lesser,
thou g h not unimportant,
Mrs. Louise Carter, is
black, with iron-gray hair
that makes her logk older
than her 49 years. She lives
in a 'tiny, furniture-crowded
..apartment on the second
floor of a concrete monster
in the slums of Liberty City.
Mrs. Carters is no great fan
'of the Miami Police Depart-
ment. Its officers, she said,
searched her home without a
warrant a few months ago.
But she wishes there were .
more uniforms on 61st
"I don't go out at night
without some protection.
These young boys, you can't
E. Wilson Purdy
... 'extended a hand'
walk down the street without
"They awful about cussin'.
"The police should be in
these poolhalls and places-
instead of bdtherin' innocent
The police problem is pro-
viding the protection desired
by Mrs. Carter while avoid- \
ing unnecessary irritation. of
the v-'atile young me;i who
are already inclined toward
violence and are very touchy
about police harassment.
ONLY A quarter of all the
respondents in The Herald's
survey said police brutality
was a big problem, but seven
of every 10 black youths
between 15 and 24 saia tney
had been victims of mistreat-
ment or knew someone who
The Miami Police Depart-
ment and the Dade Sheriff's
Department have adopted
vastly different approaches
to the critical area, called
In the 18 months of Sheriff
E. Wilson Purdy's tenure, his
office has established, an 11-
ma n Community Service
Section which is already
winning national attention.
The section works under
the supervision of Purdy's
executive assistant, Harold
Barney,. who was, hired be-
cause of his wide experience
in police-community relations
work, and Sgt. Larry Vardell.
Four community se-vice
officers work in the districts
with high crime rates, estab-
lishing rapport .between the
community and the depart-
The officers, three of
whom are white, visit b.rs,
shoot pool with the young
bloods, receive complaints
and help people cope with
very day problems, many of
which are not police related.
(Continued on next page)]
In the beginning, Purdy
said, the-Negroes "were sus-
picious, cynical, skeptical
and rightly so. They've seen
*tn -'- c' this f itff "
In a little over a year,
though, "A number of prob-
lems have been solved. A
number have surfaced. A
number may never be solved.
THE SHERIFF added,
"some people say we're so-
cial workers. But you have to
remember that after 5
o'clock at night we're the
only social service agerrcy
operating in the community.
"We extended a hand ard
the community wanted it. _
"This is a long-range com-
mitment. We believe deeply-
SThis spring, a federal grant
enabled the sheriff to set up
an eight-week training course
for his sergeants an4lieuten-
Consultants were brought
in from St. Louis -- where
the oldest and best police-
community relations program
is working and Baltimore,
another big, progressive de-
A cram course in history
and sbciology is coming from
Miami-Dade Junior College
Purdy and Barney credit
the community relatic-.
effort with some impressive
statistics gathered erly this
The crime rate In Dade
rose 20 per cent in. 1967,
about the national average.
But the increase was only 4.1
per cent in the district in-'
cludig thle Liberty City Ne-
The number of arrests Il
that district was :p 50 SW-
cent, a good in icator of
conmmmuniiy cooperation with
And the once-loud com-
plaints 'agipst officers were
:"dow'to a whisper," in Pur-'
The Miami Police Depart-
ment,,whicl! patrols the Cen-
tral Negro District, pa.t of
the Liberty City-Brov,-sville
area and Coconu; Grove, arsa
has achieved national atten-
tion for its dealings with the
Negro communitv,, :'
CHIEik ALTER Headely's,
"get-tough -prnicy--in-- -the
Cen'.ral Negro District, fol-
lowed by his "when the loot-
ing starts the shooting
-.. tl. L itl'C L. g~iL lledAiil,.
and stirred controversy
across the country.
In the Dade ghettoes, the
policy has won .he support
of 55 per cent of the Negroes
who are aware of it. The
support is highest in the
criir.-ridden Central Negro
Many law-abiding citizens
are willing to overlook tough
'talk in the interest of long
But the support is low
among the young, who bear_
the brunt of police harass-
ment of street-corner loun-
gers and raids on bars and
Fewer than half the blacks
under 35 approve of the
Headley policy and more
than half complained of po-
relations programs are aimed
at this potentially explosive
group. The Miami Police
Department, however, has no
significant community rela-
tions program aimed at them
or anybody else.
The department "can't
afford" a formal unit such as
the Sheriff's Deoartment has,
said Major A. W. Anderson
who carries the title of "com-
munity relations coordina-
tor" for the MPD in addition
to his fulltime duties as com-
mander of the service'divi-
Anderson is generally re-
Sgai:dd as being truly inter-
ested in corn'iunitv relation'
but most obs. ,, ss ':r :d-
ley's attitude, rather tl.n
lack of money, as the big
deterrent to more MPD activ-
ity in that AJLa-
-Lack of interest at the top
and lack of.understanding at
lower levels appears to ham-
per the efforts of Anderson
and a few others in the de-
partment to establish com-
munication with the black
"I feel as though we need
to be doing more in commu-
nity relations, but in just
what areas is the big ques-
tion," Anderson said.
.* *- -
HE AND public informa-
tion officer Jay Golden hav"
oficred to address Negro
groups, but have had no tak-
ers, he said.
The offer has been extend-
ed through a number of old-
line Negro leaders.
By contrast, Purdy's men
talk with the street gang
leaders, bolita writers and
i pool room operators any-
one with a following in the
The contrasts in approach
between the two departments
are not reflected clearly in
responses to The Herald's
There were slightly fewer
-complaints of brutality in the
area patroled by the Sher-
iff's Department, 'ut the
difference was small. \
More than just a year's
effort is apparently required
to erase bitterness and is-
trust built up over decades.
And more than police efforts
alone will certainly be re-
quired to ease the tensions
that continue to irritate both
the nearly all-white police
forces and their black constit-
Miami Herald May 1, 1968.
AUo 5o 7
.105 N.W. 62nd Street
r'co ,. -. .
MASS RALLY OF CONCERNED BLACK PEOPLE--TO CREATE ACTIOLt.. uiorTA wvK. Tr
WE DEMAND AND WILL INSIST ON NOTHING LESS THAN--------------
1. BLICK CONTROL OF BLACK GHETTO--POLITICALLY, ECONOMICALLY
2. GUARANTEED ANNUAL INCOME
3. PROGRAMS FOR POOR PEOPLE CONTROLLED BY POOR
4. BLACK POLICEMEN AND FIREMEN FOR BLACK COIR4UNITIES
UNTIL THESE DEMANDS ARE IMPLEMENTED BLACK AkERICA WILL BE HEARD:!
THESE THINGS WE. DEMAND "il1C."
COHE SEE WHAT THESE SPEAKERS AND ORGANIZATIONS HAVE TO SAY:
SPEAKERS WILL INCLUDE:
1. IWilt Chamberlain
7.. Rcv. Ralph Abernathy
3. lMike Mconaelmn
4. Al Fcathcrstono
5. Jinany Chatmoi.
6. Lorry Johnoon
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