Miami artist Delbert Rodriguez was 21 years old.
I use the word “was” because Delbert – a Miami based artist known as ‘Demz’ – was chased down and run over by a Miami police officer with a history of violence last week for painting the side of a building during an international art festival where almost everybody was painting on the side of buildings.
Delbert died Tuesday after fighting for his life in a Miami hospital.
He was in critical condition with a severe brain injury for days.
The official police statement claimed it was an accident, “due to darkness, black clothing, and his low position near the pavement, the officers were unable to see him as they turned the corner.” Police also said parked cars blocked the cop’s visibility as he cruised the street at 15 mph.
And they claimed there was no audio or video evidence in the case.
There’s only one problem with the police statement – the evidence has told a completely different story.
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The evidence shows Delbert Rodriguez was wearing a white t-shirt.
The evidence shows Delbert Rodriguez was struck just steps away from where he was painting.
The evidence shows Delbert Rodriguez was struck next to the sidewalk in a place where a car has no business driving.
In short, the evidence shows that Delbert Rodriguez was not killed by accident, because of the darkness of his clothing or his position near the pavement.
Instead, the evidence shows a completely different story, leading one to believe that Delbert Rodriguez was deliberately run over by Miami police Detective Michael Cadavid, the son of a retired internal affairs cop, who has a history of abusive policing as Local 10 and the Miami News Times reported.
Consider – Miami Police Sergeant Freddy Cruz told a Fusion reporter there was no video or audio evidence in the case. After the same reporter, Arielle Castillo, discovered that Miami police had confiscated the surveillance video captured by a nearby business called CL Trading, Cruz changed his story, saying “I don’t know if they got video or not. They might have gotten surveillance video.”
Consider – where the police once clearly stated that Delbert was wearing dark clothes when he was killed, after a photo surfaced on the internet of Delbert lying in the street with a white t-shirt on, the police changed their story. “He might be wearing something lighter,” Cruz said after the photo appeared.
Consider – where the police once claimed Delbert was killed after a chase, the photo has shown that Delbert was killed mere meters from his canvas. “It wasn’t a chase,” said Cruz, changing the police story yet again. “The officer was just looking for him and it was a brief encounter.”
Where the police claimed there were numerous parked cars nearby when Delbert was struck, the photo of Delbert in the street shows no parked cars.
“This photo belongs to an actual witness,” reads the caption of the photo that has undressed the police. “PEOPLE WITNESSED this uncalled for act of police brutality… This kid was run over.”
While Delbert was still on life support, his mother was approached at the hospital by Miami police union President Javier Ortiz, who told her that her son shouldn’t have run from police and then offered to buy her dinner.
The callousness of a police officer scolding a mother at the hospital bed of her dying son is shockingly unsurprising, especially down here where Miami Beach police officers laughed and high-fived each other after tasing street artist Israel Hernandez to death.
The remarks of the police in the wake of Delbert’s death reveal the empathy of a sociopath.
“For every action there’s a reaction,” Ortiz texted. “If he would have not been committing a crime and then running from law enforcement, this could have been avoided.”
After claiming the event was a tragic accident that devastated the officer involved, Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa went on to say “It’s unfortunate that the young man tried to run from police.”
You know what really unfortunate? A police department that would claim there is no video evidence, until it gets caught with its pants down. A police department that issues a completely false statement, and then “clarifies” that statement as each lie is uncovered. A police department that would cover up for a murderer.
The Miami Police Department, and anyone who thinks that death is an “equal reaction” to graffiti, is very, very unfortunate.
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I started this story with the pronoun “I” for the simple reason that this story has really gotten to me.
Day after day, I find myself reading about stories of of people abusing, torturing, sometimes murdering other people, and getting away with it because they wear the color blue.
We need a change.
People, stop marching down the streets with signs until they have names on them. And not the names of the people you want to see arrested, but the names of the people you want to be elected. Police brutality starts and ends with politicians. City councilmen, mayors, governors, Congress. These are the people with the power to hire and train new officers, and fire and prosecute the criminals.
Take away the crooked politicians and you take away the police’s immunity to justice.
Just remember one thing – like a fist, the people are only powerful when the individuals are united. To really make a change, we need to work together.