a story focusing on the deaths of two men who died in February after being zapped with Tasers by Miami-Dade police officers.
One of the deaths had occurred just a few hours before in deep South Miami-Dade County.
But the other death occurred more than three weeks before, in Liberty City.
Somehow, Miami-Dade Police had managed to keep quiet, the Feb. 5th death of a 21-year-old man from Georgia.
From Rabin's report:
The other Miami-Dade fatality in February happened more than three weeks ago.
That’s when 21-year-old Willie Sams — studying to become a barber, from a tiny town in Northwest Georgia, and visiting his grandmother — got into a confrontation with police in Liberty City.
Just before 1 a.m. on Feb. 5, police responding to a domestic dispute call jolted Sams, 21, with a Taser, also known as an electronic control device.
An hour later, doctors at Northshore Medical Center pronounced Sams dead.
“An encounter occurred between the officers and Mr. Sams. The officers deployed an electronic control device, striking Mr. Sams. [Miami-Dade Fire Rescue] was called to the scene and Mr. Sams was taken to North Shore Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased,” is all police would say. [Emphasis mine.]
Rabin's story was posted on the Herald's website shortly before noon on Feb. 28th.
Morales, presumably, read the entire piece. But it was the three sentence statement by Miami-Dade Police regarding the Feb. 5th death that inspired the city manager to do a little writing of his own.
Not long after reading the story, Morales sent the following email to his inner circle at City Hall and a few top people at the Miami Beach Police Department:
Please see the Herald article linked to this email regarding a taser death on February 5th. Miami-Dade Police certainly seem to have no problem issuing a short statement with only the facts. No interviews by anybody. Just a simple statement. Probably part of the reason why there has been so little coverage. [Emphasis mine.] The County is not giving them material to print. Let the facts speak for themselves.
That is all I ask for. I find it is usually much safer to say less than more. I trust that this will be how we handle things going forward. Thanks
Morales is no dummy. His page on the city's website says he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School.
But one city hall insider said this of Morales' email, "Vocally communicating something like that is fine, but putting it in writing is just plain dumb."
Despite his careful, seemingly benign words, Morales' message to his "team" was clear: "The next time we have a crisis in the city, say as little as possible to the press, and maybe they'll go away."
Note to Jimmy Morales: If you actually believe that then you must be stupid...or delusional.
This is, by the way, the same Jimmy Morales, who during a run for Miami-Dade mayor in 2004, couldn't explain how he spent $580,000 in campaign funds.
Miami Dade Commission on Ethics & Public Trust re Jimmy Morales c-07-03_morales by Random Pixels blog