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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78321 Find in a Library
Title: Under Siege in an Urban Ghetto
Journal: Police Magazine  Volume:4  Issue:4  Dated:(July 1981)  Pages:25-27,32-38
Author(s): B Porter; M Dunn
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 10
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This excerpt from an indepth study examines police-community relations prior to the May, 1980, 3-day riot in Liberty City, a black section of Miami, Fla. extending into Dade County, and police preparation for and response to the riot are critiqued.
Abstract: The report is based upon months of interviews with hundreds of Liberty City residents, city officials, and police officers. Prior to the riot, the police had virtually ceased to answer calls and enforce the law in Liberty City, claiming that residents did not want the police in the community and that the lives of officers would be endangered by confrontations with residents. This perception was based upon experience with hostile groups gathering whenever police had occasion to challenge a resident. The general police attitude was that they were not wanted in the community to enforce the law and that their efforts would make little difference anyway. The riot was apparently precipitated by the jury acquittal of some police officers charged with beating to death a black male after a high-speed chase. The police were caught off guard by the riot and had not even speculated about such an occurrence. Police personnel had no training in riot control, so management and execution were confused. Although the manpower, which included State police and national guard personnel, was apparently sizeable, the absence of an overall plan prevented its effective and efficient use. The primary police activity was the keeping of persons out of the riot area, while the rioters and looters were left generally free to do whatever they wished. The police notably failed to take advantage of the lull in the rioting which occurred in the early morning of the second day. This would have been the appropriate time to move into the riot area with a show of overwhelming force.
Index Term(s): Black/African Americans; Florida; Police community relations; Police management; Riot causes; Riot control
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