After being sued in federal court for alleged civil right violations and police discrimination weeks ago, the city of Miami Gardens and its police department are once again accused of violating civil rights.
The city and two police officers, Randy Carpenter and Michael Horn, are being sued by Michael Asia, who accuses the two officers of beating him up without cause and denying him medical treatment. Asia, 22, also accuses the police officers of racial profiling.
In his complaint, Asia claimed that he was leaving his girlfriend's house on Dec. 4, 2010 when an unmarked police car pulled up near him. Asia ran away and hid until uniformed police arrived, when he was handcuffed, tossed to the ground and hit in the head by Carpenter and Horn. He was charged with resisting arrest with violence and battery of a law enforcement officer, and was jailed for 40 days before bonding out.
The charges were dropped in July of 2011.
The officers Asia is accusing of violating his civil rights were also listed as defendants in Alex Saleh's case against the city.
In his case, Quikstop owner Saleh claims that the officers, along with another officer Alex Barney, harassed and profiled his employees and customers hundreds of times, often using stop-and-frisk tactics. One of his employees has been arrested for trespassing 62 times, despite working at the store since 2011.
The complaint also said that police officers were told to target young black men and "to increase statistics by increasing number of arrests and field interrogations."
If it is found that the city violated federal civil rights law, Asia would be allowed to recover his attorney's fees and bypass state limits on jury awards against cities.
The Florida NAACP has also called for a federal investigation into the Miami Gardens Police Department, with the organization urging U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to review the "pattern of intimidation" by police officers in dealing with the city's residents, who are predominantly black.
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Source: The Miami Herald, "Miami Gardens police hit with another lawsuit," Dec. 9, 2013.