On Friday, 10 members of Hallandale Beach’s SWAT Team resigned through a memo to Police Chief Sonia Quiñones.
While the officers cited many issues for their resignations, they explain the biggest factor in their decision was when members of the Command Staff took a knee in solidarity with Vice Mayor Sabrina Javellana, and what the SWAT team believed they were supporting through that display.
“Lastly and most shockingly,” they said, “having members of the Command Staff taking a knee in solidarity with Vice Mayor Sabrina Javellana (who stated she wants the officers ‘fired and charged’) and a handful of political activists that chanted, “Howard Bowe, re-open the case…” showed a lack of support,” they stated.
Javellana, the 22-year-old vice mayor who was elected in 2018, identifies herself on her Twitter page as “Troublemaker.” She has been openly vocal about reopening the aforementioned case.
Bowe, a 34-year-old black man, was killed six years ago by Hallandale Beach’s SWAT team, as the force carried out an early morning search warrant as part of a narcotics investigation and raided his home.
He died 11 days after the May 8, 2014 fatal raid. In addition, Bowe’s pitbull was killed with a shotgun and Bowe, who was unarmed, was shot in the stomach.
The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the four police officers who were involved in the shooting.
The SWAT Team noted that “This case was investigated by a Grand Jury, The State Attorney, FDLE and settled in a civil action. The city also hired Greenwood and Strieicher, LLC.” That firm, they explained, is a consulting company that focuses on government accountability and policing solutions.
I spoke in support of Howard Bowe and his family at HB city commission meetings before I was ever elected. I will continue to do so no matter the reprucussions because his life mattered and won’t be forgotten. https://t.co/LBbbP3CFeQ
— Sabrina Javellana (@jvellana) June 13, 2020
The officers wrote that investigators never found any misconduct committed by the officers involved in the man’s death.
Two years ago, the city commission voted unanimously to pay Bowe’s family $425,000 in a settlement they had filed for alleged violation of Bowe’s civil rights and for detaining his son, who was a minor at the time, during the raid.
“For some reason, our vice mayor, who has been on the dais a little less than two years, is trying to resurrect an issue from the past,” Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper told Miami television station WPLG. “While there were mistakes made, our officers were adjudicated by a grand jury.”
(See the memo below)
A statement by City Manager Greg Chavarria alleges the officers’ memo incorrectly said that Quiñones was supporting an elected official by taking a knee.
Following a peaceful protest last Friday with more than a dozen protesters, Quiñones and other members of the department joined the demonstrators when they arrived at City Hall. The city manager said the chief was “taking a knee against racism, hatred and intolerance.
He continued: “They have incorrectly stated the gesture was in support of an elected official. This is simply not true. ”
Quiñones has set a meeting for Monday at 3 p.m. with the officers. At that time, the chief of police will hear their concerns and collect their equipment, according to Chavarria.
“The city thanks them for their service,” the statement read. Chavarria adds that while officers have resigned from SWAT, they have not resigned from the police department.
“While the voluntary resignation of our officers from this assignment is unfortunate, our residents should be assured it has not had any impact on our commitment to protecting their safety,” he added.