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Click here if you're looking for the story on the arrest of Miami Gardens Police Chief Stephen Johnson.
Matthew Boyd spent an unremarkable 24 years, 11 months with the Miami-Dade Police Department before retiring in 2006. A search of the Miami Herald's archives turns up almost nothing on Boyd in those 24 years.
After he retired from the MDPD, Boyd signed on with the City of Miami Gardens and began building its police department, becoming the department's first chief when it became operational in December 2007.
As chief of the Miami Gardens Police Department for the past 5 years, Boyd has entrenched himself in the same rut of mediocrity that he dug for himself in his almost 25 years at MDPD; destined to retire one day from the Miami Gardens PD without leaving a trace of ever having been there.
However, all that changed last Friday when the Miami Herald reported that instead of patrolling the streets of one of South Florida’s most violent municipalities, Boyd's officers have been targeting the employees and patrons of a convenience store, 207 Quickstop, on NW 207th St., with systematic, ongoing harassment.
From the Herald's Julie Brown:
Earl Sampson has been stopped and questioned by Miami Gardens police 258 times in four years. He’s been searched more than 100 times. And arrested and jailed 56 times.
Despite his long rap sheet, Sampson, 28, has never been convicted of anything more serious than possession of marijuana.
Miami Gardens police have arrested Sampson 62 times for one offense: trespassing.
Almost every citation was issued at the same place: the 207 Quickstop, a convenience store on 207th Street in Miami Gardens.
But Sampson isn’t loitering. He works as a clerk at the Quickstop.
So how can he be trespassing when he works there?
|Just some of Earl Sampson's 56 arrests are documented |
on the Miami-Dade Clerk of the Court's website.
Click here to enlarge.
The Herald's Brown reported that the store's owner, Alex Saleh, fed up with the harassment of Sampson and others, installed cameras in June 2012 both inside and outside his store to document it.
The videos show, among other things, cops stopping citizens, questioning them, aggressively searching them and arresting them for trespassing when they have permission to be on the premises; officers conducting searches of Saleh’s business without search warrants or permission; using what appears to be excessive force on subjects who are clearly not resisting arrest and filing inaccurate police reports in connection with the arrests.Chief Matthew Boyd's luck had run out.
In an instant the media scrutiny that Boyd had successfully dodged for more than a quarter of a century, was now aimed squarely at him.
|New York Daily News, Nov. 23, 2013.|
Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert says Saleh's allegations aren't true.
The Herald reported Saturday:
Mayor Oliver Gilbert said the allegations made by Saleh about police misconduct are untrue. The city has reached out to him in the past and he hasn’t been cooperative, he said.
“We have repeatedly asked the owner of the store to provide information so we can investigate his allegations and he has refused,” Gilbert said.
However, public records, obtained by the Herald, show that Saleh did provide videos to the city. The state attorney also issued a subpoena for the videos last year, and Saleh and his attorney complied. It’s not clear what, if any, action was taken. The state prosecutor’s records were not yet available on Friday.
“I gave them seven videos,’’ Saleh said. “I gave them to the internal affairs commander, Gary Smith.”
Saleh added that after he filed the internal affairs complaint in August 2012, one of the officers he complained about, Michael Malone, confronted a customer who was part of the complaint.
And what's Chief Matthew Boyd's reaction to all this?
He's gone into hiding.
The Herald reports that "repeated phone messages and emails to Chief Matthew Boyd were not returned."