The rumor goes that Jamal Rollins had his hands up when Miami-Dade Police opened fire on him, ending his life last week. And before that, as of yet unfounded, narrative created more strife, community leaders tried to ease the tension this Tuesday with a meeting for answers.
What the meeting ended up doing, was to show the divide and distrust many in the Perrine community have with the police department. safe. Rollins' family were skeptical they would get a fair investigation, while the Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez tried to ease worries that such an investigation would not be transparent or fair.
“Right is right,” said Miami-Dade Commissioner Dennis Moss when explaining how the facts would be interpreted, whether they came back for the officer or for the dead youth. That became the underlying theme officials and the MDPD tried to implore on the crowd of hundreds that the investigation would adhere to, right is right.
Jamal Rollins was stopped by police last week for erratic driving. Then a passenger ran out of the car, and Rollins was shot dead.
According to investigators Rollins had a gun with him. That gun along with three others were retrieved in the area subsequently.
Rollins' Aunt Karen Harris disputed that fact, and most of what the official narrative said.
“This was not a routine stop,” said Harris. “Run the tag[ he didn't have a record.] Why was that stop initiated so aggressively?“
Perez said there were 211 shootings last year, and many happened in this neighborhood. He says his officers were undercover trying to prevent a rumored retaliation shooting.
She questioned how the initial investigation was handled, claiming the officer, whom she called “the shooter” was allowed to leave the scene and come back in different clothes.
“I watch law and order and I can tell you it's not right,” she said.
Perez claimed the officer never left the scene and was intensively questioned.
Harris called the shooting “an assassination.”
Rollins' mom told the audience that her son had been shot multiple times unnecessarily. That according to her mortician he was shot twice in the leg, twice in the arm, another shot broke the other arm, and a shot to the chest.
Perez and Troy Walker of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement could not speak on specifics because of the ongoing investigation. The FDLE is investigating this shooting, like all police shootings, and will do it independently from MDPD's investigation.
“We are totally independent,” said Walker. “You will see my agents in your community. I am 100% committed.”
Perez said that no witness has come forward to corroborate the version that Rollins had his hands up.
Harris said all he had to do was look at Channel 10, as many were talking- just not to the police. Which many in that community do not trust.
“Sometimes with police procedure the public might not understand how we do things. Those same folks that talked to the news stations, we are going to follow up. We will go on the record. Get a sworn statement to give an account for what they saw or heard,” said Walker.
Overall it was respectful between officials and the community, but there were many jeers and many were left unconvinced.