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Police hiring practices must improve
Bodies under interstate 95?
he said. "When they originally started
95 (Interstate), they made a jog in the
fence. So they knew at that time that
there were graves there. The only rea-
son they made the jog at the fence was
to avoid graves."
Allegedly, the FDOT right-of-way
runs through the area of the cemetery
where many poor and/or unknown in-
dividuals, mostly blacks, were buried
called the "Paupers" section. A num-
ber of bodies could possibly be bur-
ied underneath the highway, which
was constructed in the 1970s, but an
exact number is not known.
FDOT spokesperson Barbara Kelle-
her said that in conjunction with its I-95
Express Lane project, a development
study was done. She said as a result of
that study, a cultural resource commit-
tee was formed that includ-
ed members of families
who's loved ones had been
buried at the cemetery, as
well as state and local his-
torians, leaders from the
munity and the Florida De-
partment of Transportation.
Kelleher said the group has
met several times to avoid
any further impact on the
Woodlawn Cemetery but
also to get an idea if there
are any remains within the
purpose of the work that
we're doing in that area is to
avoid any further impact,"
she said. "We're not going
into the cemetery itself."
An outreach committee
meeting for the Woodland Cemetery
will be held next month to discuss the
results of the ground investigation, ac-
cording to a letter sent by FDOT proj-
ect manager Lynn Kelley to a cultural
resource committee member.
The cemetery is located at 1936
NW 9th Street, in Fort Lauderdale and
is the resting place of many pioneer-
ing African Americans, according to
the website, www.browardcemeteries.
The cemetery was badly dete-
riorated by the 1990s when it was ac-
quired by the city of Fort Lauderdale
to preserve its heritage and historic
importance, according to information
on the site.
Walter "Mickey" Hinton said he
thinks it is important to preserve the
cemetery because of its historic sig-
nificance. "A lot of black pioneers
that (really made things happen) for
the city of Fort Lauderdale are buried
there," he said. "Anybody could have
been buried there. They didn't care
how much money you had."
Hinton, 76, said many of his rela-
tives and extended family are buried
at the Woodlawn Cemetery. He said
he thinks the human remains search
dogs found about 10 hot spots within
the cemetery and six outside of the
fence. Kelleher said no official results
have been submitted yet but a cultural
resource committee meeting will be
held sometime in May to discuss the
She said the FDOT right-of-way is
from the fence line of the cemetery
out towards the interstate and into the
interstate property. "That's why we
have conducted some non-ground
disturbing work in order to determine
if there are any human remains in the
DOT right-of-way," Kelleher said. "A
couple of weekends ago, we used hu-
man remains detecting dogs and then
this past weekend, we used ground
penetration radar in order to detect if
there were any human remains in the
DOT right-of-way itself."
Kelleher said the desire is to not
do any further disruption or impact
to the cemetery. "The purpose of this
research is so that we can get an idea
of what's there, so that we can make fu-
ture plans that would not impact those
(areas)," she said.
Kelleher said it is her understand-
ing that the cemetery is eligible for a
listing on the national registry of his-
toric places but she does not know if
it has been designated as a historic
site at a state office. "We are obviously
interested in working with the commu-
nity to come up with a solution for the
long-term on how to handle that par-
ticular area, so that we hopefully don't
do any further disruption," she said.
WOODLAWN, FROM 1A
Black leaders in South Florida are mixed
on how to resolve these complex police rela-
tions. Patrick Franklin, President and CEO of
the Urban League of Palm Beach County, says
he believes hiring practices of police depart-
ments have to get better. "I personally think
there's a misrepresentation of minority offi-
cers. They say there's a shortage of minority
recruits. They are saying they can't find good
minorities for the force.Well, they're not look-
ing in the right places. I think it goes back to
retention and recruitment. Do they adequate-
ly seek minority officers? We need to address
this issue across the nation," said Franklin.
He also said a lot of the misconduct may
have been taking place all along, but today
there's social media that's playing a role. "We
live in the age of social media. These things
may have been going on, but now we can see
them via social media. You have a few more
eyes and heightened awareness now with
cell phone cameras and videos."
The other pertinent question is 'How do
black men avoid becoming victims of a trig-
ger-happy officer?' Franklin says there has
to be an open dialogue about this. "We have
to keep the dialogue open with our officers.
There are more good officers than bad offi-
cers out there, but we have to discuss whether
to move on when we find ourselves in a situa-
tion with an officer, or to engage.We just hope
you pick the right action at the right time. We
need an ongoing, open dialogue about this."
Reverend Lloyd Taylor, 52, of West Palm
Beach, says what he sees happening right
now with police officers is a total disrespect
of black life and a devaluing of the black
race. "With these recent shootings, what
they (officers) see is a silhouette that's com-
pletely black. It's not even a black life, but a
black silhouette. It's a total devaluing of the
black man and the black race as a whole,"
said Taylor, who has two black male children,
age 27 and 20. "I keep my children covered
in prayer as their father. I pray constantly
for them every day. I raised my kids to be
respectful of everyone. But to these officers,
we're just another 'negro.' Most parents are
encouraging their children to take specific
measures when they encounter a police offi-
cer. We have to do this if we want to see the
next day," he said.Franklin agrees. He says it's
not a matter of "if" there will be another en-
counter as a black man; it's a matter of "when."
But while Rev. Taylor sees these officers as
devaluing black life, T. Willard Fair, President
and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Mi-
ami, says we, as blacks, devalue our own lives.
Fair says none of these cases would be sensa-
tionalized if they didn't involve a white officer
and black males. "These situations would not
even be newsworthy," he said. "We don't talk
about the escalating violence in our own com-
munity," he said during a South Florida Times
interview on police relations."It has to start
with us! When we become just as outraged
over black on black crime....we don't get
outraged when we kill each other. This is evi-
dence that black lives don't matter to us. That's
perfectly clear," said Fair. "Where is the out-
rage when a black officer kills a black child?
What we need is to police our own behavior!"
POLICE, FROM 1A
included the agenda items, a statement on
"Engaging Power: Preparing Ourselves for
Reactions from Power People" distinguishes
public from personal relationships. The
former, it explains, must be based on making
commitments and holding each other
accountable. "We are not concerned about
being liked; instead, we are concerned about
getting something done," it reads.
Getting something done was the prevail-
ing theme of the assembly.
After providing a brief background on the
congregations' motivations for joining PACT
and its similarities to Nehemiah's scriptural
assembly, Father Chris Marino, from the Ca-
thedral of St. Mary, broke it down succinctly.
"There may be some tension in this room
tonight," he warned. "We are asking that our
county officials answer our questions with a
direct "yes" or a direct "no."
No official was being blindsided, because
"this is not the first time that these, our public
officials, have been presented with these is-
sues. We have met with them ahead of time
and we have sent them letters with exactly
the questions that we put before them to-
night," Marino stated.
The first official to face the mass audience
was Miami Gardens Interim Police Chief
Antonio Brooklen. He replied "yes" to each
of the questions posed to him regarding the
city's agreement to install resource officers at
"Yes" or "No"
CHANGE, FROM 1A
PHOTO COURTESY OF SOUTH FLORIDA TIMES
Worker marks gravesites along I-95.
PHOTO COURTESY OF EVENS ST LOUIS
Deacon Michael McBride, Antioch Missionary
Baptist recognizing Miami Gardens Chief Antonio
Brooklen for Neighborhood Resource Ofﬁces.
PLEASE TURN TO CHANGE/6A
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