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Columns

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, Miami Beach, and the Police

June 2, 2017 - 8:45am

Yesterday my phone rang, and my text messages blew up asking me, had I read the article in the Miami Herald about an email Miami Beach Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez sent.

I had not. But the texters and callers wanted to make sure I did, so, I read it.

Commissioner Rosen Gonzalez, a candidate for the congressional seat Ilena Ros Lehtinen is vacating, sent an email to Miami Beach's city manager expressing that bullets should be given back to police and body cameras should be taken away.

First, let me say this: that city manager clearly doesn't like Rosen Gonzalez, because he leaked her email just as sure as I'm writing this column today.

Second, after reading the email, I get why there was so much outrage towards Rosen Gonzalez. At first glance, it appears she is advocating for the Miami Beach Police to be able to run roughshod over the people with zero accountability.

Given the history of brutality among the Miami Beach Police, it's entirely reasonable for people to be pissed off at the commissioner.

Instead of piling onto the already high level of pissed-ivity (I like that!), I decided to go a different route.

I picked up the phone and called her.

I didn't call her with accusations.

I didn't call her with confrontation.

I called her to simply talk about it.

I get where she was coming from, and I hope you will, too.

There was a shooting during Memorial Day Weekend on Miami Beach.

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez cares about the citizens who elected her, and was understandably upset.

While what she actually said was dead-ass wrong, what she was TRYING to say was dead-ass right.

When I was growing up, the police officers who were in our neighborhood were actually a part of our neighborhood.

We knew them, they knew us. They did their job, complete with their guns (and bullets), WITHOUT body cameras.

There was trust between law enforcement and the community.

That's where Rosen Gonzalez was in-artfully trying to go.

Unfortunately, those days aren't here anymore. As much as she, and I, would like them to be.

We are in scary times.

Instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water, in this case, calling for Kristen Rosen Gonzalez's head on a platter, I'd much rather have the conversation about why we NEED body cameras.

I hear people saying Jose Javier Rodriguez would make a better representative.

Well, remember, folks, he isn't mistake-free either.

He voted for the homestead exemption increase. If that goes through, Miami Beach may not have police officers to put body cameras ON!

Let's all take a deep breath and relax.

One of my dear friends, state Rep. Shevrin Jones, sponsored a body camera bill in the Florida House.

It was done in memory of Corey Jones, the young man who was killed by a police officer in Palm Beach County.

I asked him to speak with Commissioner Rosen Gonzalez, and he agreed.

You don't trash an otherwise great person because they made a mistake.

You try to help them learn from their mistake.

Thank you, Rep. Jones!

Leslie Wimes, a Sunshine State News columnist, is founder and president of Women on the Move and the Democratic African American Women Caucus, www.daawc.com. Follow Leslie on Twitter: @womenonthemove1

Comments

I have no words! How does Leslie, who has something to say about everything, suddenly defend KRG and her comments about returning to bullets and offing bodycams? I was expecting her to go off like she normally does. Lol, I actually winced and took a deep breath before I read what she could possibly say about KRG - to my surprise, this was a peaceful read.

I remember those days. I grew up in a panhandle town that elected the Chief Constable. The chief constable during my parents retirement and after my father's death was an African-American elected by a white majority. But what really made him great was he checked on my mother, a white woman, every morning on the way to the station house. That's hard to beat.

Pretty good article and I usually don't agree with what you say. I agree that police are still a part of our community and should be. I don't agree that criminals should be allowed to have body armor. That is probably the stupidest thing I have ever heard. I can give you a fool proof way to avoid being shot by police (borrowed from Chris Rock). Don't be armed w/o a permit. Don't break the law. Don't be armed while committing a crime. If the police give you a command to stop and get on the ground, do it whether you are guilty or not. You will go home alive that day. if you do not follow any of these rules and you do get shot, you were warned and chose to be stupid.

Innocent people get shot everyday but you're saying to obey all commands. When people havnt committed a crime or broken any laws, they still get shot and killed by police and then there's the media with their PR spin by the police to make the innocent look guilty. There's a constitution to abide and yet there's no one in government who took an oath goes by it. Cameras should be worn by them including politicians since there's no accountability in government. Rosen Gonzalez is still wrong and should represent her constituents instead of going against them.

AMEN !

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