Activists are demanding answers from
the City of Miami Beach over allegations its police department
targets gay men.
Miami-based gay rights group SAVE
Dade is calling on members of the gay community to attend a
Tuesday, February 9 meeting at Miami Beach City Hall to “secure a
firm commitment from police leadership to ensure that this matter is
addressed with all the seriousness it deserves.”
Last week, the city took police
officers Frankly Forte and Elliot Hazzi off patrol and assigned each
to desk duty pending the results of an internal investigation.
Officials were responding to an
Civil Liberties Union of Florida (ACLU) announcement on Wednesday of
its intention to sue the city, Forte and Hazzi over a March 13, 2009
The civil rights group alleges the
officers harassed and arrested Harold Strickland, a gay former Miami
Beach resident, after he called 911 to report the beating of a gay
man at the hands of the police officers as he lay handcuffed on the
ground in Flamingo Park.
In his 911 call, Strickland says, “And
they pushed this guy on the ground, the one cop did, and the other
cop came up, as if he was kicking a football and kicked the guy in
the head. Just some aggressive behavior going on and I'm not sure
it's acceptable, to be honest.”
The officers arrested Strickland for
loitering and prowling in the park, charges he pleaded no contest to,
but which later were dropped.
The ACLU alleges the arresting officers
yelled anti-gay slurs at Strickland as he was being booked, including
multiple instances of calling him a “fucking fag.”