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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 70851 Find in a Library
Title: Overwhelmed in Miami (FL)
Journal: Police Magazine  Volume:3  Issue:5  Dated:(September 1980)  Pages:6-15
Author(s): J Katzenbach
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 10
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article describes the riots that occurred in the black community of Miami, in May 1980, and police agencies' efforts to control the rioting.
Abstract: The riots were prompted by a jury's acquittal of four white Dade County police officers accused of the beating death of a black insurance executive. The rioting included incidences of arson and looting, and resulted in 18 deaths and up to $100 million in damages. Police officials stated that the riot caught them unprepared. Within hours of the initial reports of rioting, it became clear that even total police force mobilization would be insufficient to control the riot-stricken area. For up to 36 hours, large sectors of the city were without law and order. The National Guard was called in to help the county Public Safety Department and the Miami Police Department restore order. The public safety leader concluded that the riot's main lesson was that community tensions, and the possibility that they may erupt violently, should never be underestimated. A survey conducted after the riot indicated that the typical rioter was just under 28 years old, single, and male. He probably dropped out of school and worked in a blue collar job paying less than $10,000 a year. Of 10 people surveyed, 9 accused the police of routine brutality. Most of the approximately 1,000 people arrested, mainly for looting, were working people without arrest records. A detailed chronological account of the events, a description of the case which prompted the rioting, an account of an incident in which Miami's mayor referred to certain police officers as 'bums,' and a photograph are included.
Index Term(s): Black/African Americans; Civil disorders; Emergency procedures; Florida; Ghettos; Riot causes; Riot control; Riot patterns
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