Miami-Dade Parents of Murdered Kids held a protest outside of the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office Thursday (Feb. 4).
The parents, frustrated over murder cases that remain unsolved or cases that fall apart, demanded State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle conduct stronger investigations and enforce longer sentences for violent criminals.
Fernandez-Rundle did not attend the rally, but here is her full statement to WLRN in response to the protest:
Having previously met with the members of “Mothers of Murdered Kids’” on several occasions, I fully understand the concerns that each of these parents have, particularly when the murder of their child remains unsolved.
I am a mother too and I can only imagine the grief that they feel. This grief and sadness is further compounded by no one being arrested and prosecuted. Therefore, they feel no justice exists for their loss.
Today, only five of 100 shooting/homicide incidents (5 percent) in the Liberty City area result in an arrest. This means that in 95 out of 100 cases, parents have had no opportunity to engage in the criminal justice system or with my office. This also means that of the same 100 cases only five prosecutors will ever see a case come into their office or have a police officer bring them evidence.
No wonder parents are frustrated, and they should be. No arrests means no one faces a judge. No witnesses coming forward to assist the police means that there is little evidence coming to the officers assigned these cases. Almost every solved case has had someone willing to speak to police to give some important information.
In the past, police allocated greater resources to community police projects which, while personnel-intensive, allowed residents to know and trust their neighborhood officers. Those staff-intensive programs no longer exist in high crime areas or have been modified to reduce officer demand.
I have previously reached out to [Miami-Dade County] Mayor Carlos Gimenez regarding allocating more officers to solve these crimes in the short run and to keep those additional officers in the community for the long run.
The following, in my opinion, should be on the highest priority for law enforcement and our community:
1. Reinstitute a robust community policing program in our most vulnerable neighborhoods.
2. Address the need to recruit and retain the most experienced homicide detectives as well as detectives that investigate contact shootings.
3. More law enforcement presence and attention in our public housing.
4. More police victim advocates to restore confidence in our community.