Back in February 2010, I posted about Miami Beach police harassing and arresting a gay man after he witnessed them abusing a suspect. The gay man, Harold Strickland (pictured), was on the phone with 911 reporting their assault when the cops came after him. The ACLU filed suit against the Miami Beach police last November.
Last week the two officers involved in the incident were fired.
The settlement reached today requires the City of Miami Beach to pay Harold Strickland $75,000 which includes attorneys’ fees, as well as enact new policies regarding the reporting of police misconduct. The city will also implement specific trainings for new police officers addressing the harassment of gay men by police in and around Flamingo Park, as well as the rights of citizens to document police behavior.
Among the changes mandated by today’s settlement is the inclusion of new training language for Miami Beach police officers, including the following: “Improperly prohibiting or punishing a citizen from observing, documenting, or reporting a police officer’s conduct violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
“The most important thing to me since that night has been that someone had to be held responsible for what was happening in the city that used to be my home,” stated Strickland. “It’s sad that it took someone going through what happened to me for the city to start taking this problem seriously, but I’m hopeful that after today’s settlement it will never happen to anyone again.”
Miami Beach Police Accused of Assaulting Gay Man to Be Fired [tr]