No Charges for Miami Cop Who Shot Unarmed Motorist

Prosecutors decided this week not to prosecute Miami police officer Reynaldo Goyos for manslaughter for shooting an unarmed motorist reaching for his cell phone during a traffic stop last year, the Palm Beach Post reported. The prosecutor’s office decided they couldn’t disprove the cop’s claim he had a reasonable fear for his life, given that cops say the dead man, Travis McNeill, was ignoring their commands to show his hands. Activists blame the shooting on police’s reliance on “tactical units.” The Post explains:

The shootings sparked furor among inner-city activists, who claimed [then police chief Miguel] Exposito’s emphasis on tactical units — officers, usually in unmarked cars, who actively seek out criminals — fostered a “wild West’’ mentality among officers.

On Tuesday, the McNeil family’s lawyer said he believed prosecutors could have filed at least a manslaughter charge. “You have four police agencies pulling a guy over for a DUI stop, in unmarked cars, and they blow him away,” said Randy Berg, of the Florida Justice Institute, who plans to file a federal lawsuit against police. “No firearms. No drugs. They didn’t even know who he was.”

A sheriff’s deputy in tactical gear shot the unarmed Seth Adams last month in the parking lot of the victim’s family’s business in nearby Palm Beach County. The use of tactical units back in Miami, meanwhile,  is on the decline:

Commissioners ousted Exposito in September for unrelated reasons; he is appealing the firing. His successor, Manuel Orosa, scaled back the tactical units Exposito championed, and beefed up community patrols.

Sheila McNeil, Travis McNeil’s mother, said that, while she is “not satisfied” with Goyos’ clearing, she has noted more uniformed officers walking the beat these days. “I like the idea that these officers are not just sitting in their cars, they’re getting out,” McNeil said in an interview.

As for Exposito, he stood firm Thursday in supporting tactical units, saying officers were well trained and vital to keeping bad guys off the streets. He said violent crime is rising because patrol officers are “too busy going from call to call to be proactive.”

“I think the criticism level against me was unjustified and I think time will bear that out,” Exposito said.

Unfortunately, if prosecutors keep declining to prosecute officers involved in shootings of unarmed civilians, it just might.

Reason on the militarization of police

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  • Timrek||

    Hasn't the last few FBI reports shown that violent crime is still declining nation wide? So, the guy lies to justify the all to frequent murder by cop that, maybe that's the violence he's referring to.

  • WTF||

    STOP RESISTING!

  • R C Dean||

    So, I can shoot a guy who has no weapon, while he sits in his car, and I won't be prosecuted?

    Good to know.

    Or does this just mean that any delay in following an order given by a cop is punishable by summary execution?

  • Timrek||

    Answers...
    1. Only if you work for the government.

    2. Yes. (NOTE: All government employees are soon to be issued Judge Dredd uniforms.)

  • Auric Demonocles||

    So, I can shoot a guy who has no weapon, while he sits in his car, and I won't be prosecuted?

    Only if you fear for your life. And have a badge in place of balls.

    Or does this just mean that any delay in following an order given by a cop is punishable by summary execution?

    Yes. Also, quick movements may be seen as going for a gun.

  • T||

    And they'll find crack in your socks, after the fact.

  • TELLMOFF||

    When a cop murders someone, he states that he feared for his life and it is OK: close to cop- grabed for his gun, far from cop- could not be sure, in a car- the car was used as a weapon.

  • John||

    the assumption is that it is reasonable for any cop to think that anyone they confront has a weapon and is reaching for it whenever they make a move with their hands.

    That is a bit disturbing. They don't even have to have a throw down weapon anymore. They can just say they thought the guy was reaching for a gun and get away with shooting anyone at any time.

  • John||

    This guy didn't live through the experience. And the cop who shot him walked away. So the fact that cops do not make it a routine to shoot people however doesn't make this guy any less dead or the precedent the non prosecution of the cop who shot him any less disturbing.

  • ||

    You mean like how it happened to the guy who this post is fucking about? Are you self-aware at all?

  • T||

    I've had the highway patrol stick a .357 in my ear and tell me not to fucking move when I opened my glove box. Nice to see your experience doesn't generalize.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Heh, the cops who've pulled me over all probably think I'm nuts because of this:

    "License, insurance, registration"
    "My license is in my wallet, may I get it out?"
    "... Yes"
    "My registration and insurance are in the glove compartment, may I get them out?"
    "... YES"

  • R C Dean||

    Reminds me of when I got pulled over for speeding on my way to do some elk hunting:

    Cop: Do you have any weapons in the vehicle:

    Dean: Sure. There should be a knife in the glove box, and I've got a rifle behind the seat. Also, there's a couple of knives, a bone saw, and an axe in that camo bag over there.

    I'm lucky I survived. Actually, he was very professional. We chatted a minute about blackpowder hunting. Still gave me a ticket, though.

  • Agammamon||

    Well, he wasn't stupid enough to tell the officer about the duct tape, garbage bags, and zip ties that wer also in the camo bag.

  • nobody||

    No you dumbass, that's not the issue. The issue is that if you were blown away by a police officer while reaching for your license and registration all the officer would need to say to escape punishment is that he feared for his life.

  • Ed||

    Alt-text applies: http://xkcd.com/325/

  • tarran||

    This guy was an idiot for forgetting to put on his white guy disguise before getting behind the wheel.

    Driving while black is still a crime people!

  • ||

    God damn that was a good skit. Right up there with Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood.

  • fried wylie||

    He said violent crime is rising

    [citation needed]

  • John||

    It is like schools. They are always "struggling" whenever you are talking to a teacher. When you talk to a cop violent crime is always rising.

  • The Fatman||

    Why doesn't that fuck-stick Dunphy come on any of these po-po related comment threads anymore. I really hope it is not my fervent desire for him to die in a fire with his progeny. /sarc
    Gods below I hate that fucking scum-bag tax-feeding cock-sucking jack-booted thug.
    I do hope he is in alot of pain because of the "on-duty car accident" he was in.

  • tarran||

    Perhaps his wife, Morgan Fairchild, gets turned on when she incidents of police "assertiveness" and "dominance" hits the news. If you don't satisfy Morgan Fairchild when she's feeling frisky, you don't stay Mr Morgan Fairchild for long, no matter how many pounds you can bench-press and how many triathlons you've got under your belt.

  • JeremyR||

    I'm not sure this thing is new, though. My father (25 years ago when I started driving) warned me to never try to hit the radar detector if I got pulled over, because the cop might think you're getting a gun. Or don't get out the registration - just put your hands on the top of the wheel.

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