ACLU: Miami Beach Cops Harassed Gay Man Who Witnessed Abuse

Two Miami Beach police officers harassed a gay man who saw them abusing a suspect, according to the ACLU. Unfortunately for them, they didn't realize he was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher at the time the cops came at him, hurling anti-gay epithets.

Flamingo As the gay man, a tourist from L.A. named Harold Strickland, reported the call the officers came at him, finally grabbing his cell phone.

The Miami Herald reports:

"A few seconds later, the line went dead.

Strickland later told the ACLU that Forte and Hazzi grabbed his cellphone and disconnected the call. 'The officers then told Strickland: 'We know what you're doing here. We're sick of all the f—ing fags in the neighborhood.' The officers pushed Strickland to the ground and tied his hands behind his back,' [Robert F. Rosenwald Jr., director of the ACLU Florida's
Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender Advocacy Project] wrote in an ACLU letter delivered Wednesday to Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower.' While Strickland was on the ground, the officers continued to spew anti-gay epithets. They called him a 'f—ing fag' and told him he was going to `get it good in jail.''

Bower and City Manager Jorge Gonzalez also declined to comment."

The officers are still on duty and the subject of an internal investigation. Rosenwald said the harassment of gay men by the police has been happening in Miami Beach "for a long time."

Comments

  1. Scared of Miami Police says

    …and “City of Miami,” as well, which is a different and separate jurisdiction than “City of Miami Beach.”

    It’s fair to recognize though that both forces have each their good (and hopefully the majority) share of impeccable and exemplary officers.

    But sad cases like this one keep happening every week unfortunately because of an also significant share among them of civil-right-violating power abusers loaded with large doses of uncontrolled homophobic anger inside them, and with a free ticket to ride it on any citizen as they please, with total immunity.

    Hopefully this particular case will serve to start some carefully managed internal laundry-&-cleaning process that these tax-payer-funded forces have been needing for a while now.

  2. Doug says

    I, along with a friend, were also subjected to harassment by Miami Beach police. I was sitting on the sand with a friend, who is not gay, when the cops approached us out of nowhere on their ATV’s. They verbally abused us, calling us disease ridden fags and saying that we were destroying the beach for normal law abiding people. We were cuffed and interrogated for almost 20 minutes and finally let go. We had done nothing wrong. There were many couples on the beach , of the opposite sex, and nothing was even said to them. I will never ever return to Miami Beach to vacation again.

  3. JOE 2 says

    This poor man was terrorized. Post-Abner Louima, how could anyone not be after being thrown to the ground, restrained, verbally abused with anti-gay slurs, and threatened with “[you’re] going to get it good in jail”? I would have s*it myself.

  4. Andy says

    The Miami Police has also been targeting people boarding the Atlantis cruises and harassing them. My friend got sniffed by one of their dogs, and was practically strip searched. He wasn’t carrying any drugs, but the entire time they were harassing him and telling him he might as well confess and that the dog is never wrong. They were rude and abusive and treated him like a criminal. Apparently this happened to dozens of people getting aboard the ship, none of whom had any drugs. But they haven’t been doing it to the straight cruises.

  5. FunMe says

    I was in South Beach last month and really liked it.

    But stories like this make me NOT consider moving there ever.

    I prefer my City of Angels and its beaches instead.

  6. FunMe says

    Doug: you need to contact ACLU, too.

    Also, what are the GLBT organization in Miami doing about this?

    Isn’t there some March winter gay event in Miami? They need to be warned that shit like this is keeping many people away from Miami.

    Doug send a letter to the Mayor and local GLBT organizations, too.

    FIGHT BACK!

  7. Bill says

    This is a common occurrence with HETEROSEXUAL police. I have written about it many times here but gay people don’t want to believe that anti-gay bigotry is so bad and so pervasive that it affects how HETEROSEXUAL police conduct themselves when gay people are involved.

  8. mikhail says

    I also was attacked by Miami Beach Police while on vacation there. 3 officers went nuts on me just for walking from my car to the beach. The worst thing is that they went crazy when I told them I was gay… They started saying that they know what I am doing there They said “there are no females here, what are you doing here?” …I was like, is this a prank?! so I told them that I was gay. Then they started spinning me around, pointing tazers in my face, and humiliating me every way they could. The male officers told the female officer to put hands in my underpants and told me not to look at what she was doing… They were so hyper and sarcastic it was sick… It lasted forever!!! When I asked where does it say that I can not walk here, they pointed at a sign and said:” haha, can’t you see it says no sex with animals on the sign, hahaha” Then they threw me in the car where i almost suffocated, while they were standing outside and laughing and calling me a victim… then they repositioned the cars so it was blocking mine and told me ” to get the F*** out of here” and never come back”. They were standing there laughing while I tried to back out without scratching their cars. They changed me with an ordinance that doesn’t exist at that location… the charge was dropped but these sadists are still working for the Miami Beach Police Department, and some of them even making comments on here and have facebook accounts…
    The internal affairs are not helping…
    It’s not a gay issue, this can happen to anyone. People have a right to walk on the street or a park if there are no signs that prohibit access. People should not be harassed by the police just because they look gay…

    Even though the charges get dropped, I still had to pay lots of fees, so the City of Miami Beach can continue its war against people who look gay. The mayor should be ashamed, it went downhill ever since she started her term…

    And why the hell the city of miami beach website says “welcome to the city of 25/7″ if their beach is closed to the public????

    The internal affairs is a joke. The police department down there runs the whole town. They intimidated and threatened me when i filed a complaint. What a bunch of high paid parasites that live and bread in our society. Disgusting!

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