According to authorities, a man was shot and killed by a plainclothes Miami police officer who was part of a robbery tactical unit. The incident occurred when the man climbed over a fence and was preparing to retrieve a weapon.
Miami Police have remained tight-lipped about the fatal incident that occurred over two weeks ago. Despite repeated requests, they have denied the Miami Herald access to important public records related to the case. The incident report, body-worn camera and audio recordings, and even the deceased individual’s name have been withheld from the public.
According to a police report, a media report, and sources within law enforcement, the shooting incident appears to have originated from a police officer’s suspicion of two men walking, who then fled when ordered to stop. The situation escalated when one of the men scaled a fence to retrieve a gun he had thrown over, despite the officer’s demand to leave it on the ground. Tragically, the events that followed resulted in a fatal outcome.
The reason for the officer’s request for the men to stop walking in the first place, as well as whether there were any witnesses to the incident, remains unclear.
Sources report that on October 11, at around 5 p.m., a shooting occurred near the intersection of Northwest 62nd Street and Second Avenue. The incident involved an officer who was a member of a Miami robbery tactical unit, and who was in plain clothes at the time. The officer pursued the suspects, first in a vehicle and then on foot, until a fatal shot was fired. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is currently conducting an investigation into the shooting.
At Miami Police headquarters the following morning, Antoinette Jones introduced herself as the mother of the deceased man. According to Jones, her son, Arnicious Odom Jr., had been at home before the shooting and had requested money for a haircut. Jones described her son as “humble” and stated that he was 20 years old. WTVJ Channel 6 was present during her statement.
During the interview with the television reporter, Jones mentioned that she did not own a cellphone and therefore, there was no means to contact her. Despite efforts, The Miami Herald has been unsuccessful in reaching out to her.
Police released a heavily redacted incident report to the Herald that includes details about another individual who was with Odom Jr. prior to his death. Marco Brown, who is 22 years old, was arrested and charged with aggravated battery of a first responder and possession of a concealed weapon by a convicted felon following the shooting.
The narrative in his arrest form fails to mention anything about Brown’s proximity to the fence when Odom was fatally shot. According to Miami-Dade Corrections records, Brown was still in custody at the Metro West Detention Center as of Thursday afternoon. Despite attempts to reach out to his assigned public defender, no response had been received by mid-day Thursday.
Miami Police released a press statement on the day of Odom Jr.’s death, stating that they were practicing transparency by withholding some information.
In a brief press release issued on the day of the shooting, the City of Miami Police Department expressed a strong commitment to transparency and accountability in all matters relating to the use of force by its officers. However, the department also stated that specific details regarding the incident would not be disclosed at this time, as the investigation is ongoing, and it is crucial to preserve the integrity of the process. The department warned that releasing information prematurely could potentially hinder the investigative process.
The city has declined to reveal the identity of the deceased individual, citing the fact that federal and state laws only guarantee privacy rights to the living. Additionally, they have not disclosed the name of the officer responsible for the fatal shooting, citing a law designed to safeguard crime victims from publicity.
Law enforcement officials in various parts of the state have been misusing Marsy’s Law in recent years by using it to conceal the identities of officers who have fatally shot people. They have claimed that these officers were victims who feared for their lives. This trend has become so widespread that the Florida Supreme Court is currently considering a case involving two Tallahassee officers who invoked the law. The author of Marsy’s Law has stated that it was never intended to be used to protect police.
The details surrounding Odom Jr’s death remain shrouded in mystery, as the city has refused to disclose even the most basic information. The location of the incident, the time of occurrence, and even the deceased’s age, race, sex, and address all remain undisclosed.
According to experts in First Amendment and public records, withholding certain information from the public eye in order to safeguard ongoing investigations is acceptable. However, some experts argue that the city of Miami has gone too far in exercising its authority to protect sensitive information.
Barbara Petersen, the executive director of the Florida Center for Government Accountability, expressed her outrage over the lack of information provided to the public regarding the shooting and killing of an individual by a police officer. According to Petersen, the police are overstepping their boundaries by withholding crucial details about the incident. She believes that the public has a right to know how, why, and where the shooting took place, and that the current lack of transparency is contrary to the principles of justice.
Miami Police are causing harm to themselves by breeding distrust among the community. It is unclear what led to the shooting of these individuals or what offense they may have committed. Some are questioning whether it was simply a case of “Walking While Black.” If law enforcement officials were doing their job properly, why not disclose all the relevant information to the public? This lack of transparency only serves to further damage the relationship between the police and the community they are meant to protect.
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