About three dozen people protested Thursday outside the Miami-Dade State Attorney Office asking for stronger investigations and longer sentences for people who commit murders.
Miami-Dade Parents of Murdered Kids, led by activist Tangela Sears, say they are sending a message to Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle.
“We want justice,” said Sears, who has been a longtime Fernandez-Rundle supporter.
Fernandez-Rundle did not make an appearance at the rally. No one from her staff commented publicly at the rally.
In an emailed statement, Fernandez-Rundle wrote, she understands the parents' frustrations and that many of the killings never get to her office because witnesses won't come forward to identify the bad guys.
"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," she wrote. "Therefore, they feel no justice exists for their loss." (Read Fernandez-Rundle's full statement here)
Sears did not mince words.
“It’s become a field day in our community,” she said talking about the killings. “There’s no justice for any of these families. There’s no aggressive investigation for any of these families.”
Some of the parents at the rally said if and when killers are caught too many get out early because of plea deals and short sentences.
The parents carried signs with pictures of their lost loved ones and chanted, “Enforce 10-20-Life,” a mandatory-minimum sentencing law for gun-related crimes.
— Nadege C. Green (@NadegeGreen) February 4, 2016
Annabell Herrera’s step-son was killed in 2012 while riding his bike to go do his homework. His case remains unsolved.
She said she thinks the criminal justice system is too lenient on violent offenders and not concerned enough for victims of violent crime.
“The laws are there,” she said. “We want them to use them so that these criminals don’t go out there and commit violent crimes.”
Miami-Dade Police Union President John Rivera attended the rally in support of the parents.
“Enough is enough,” he said. “People are sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
He added that members of the community should take out their frustration at the polls.
“ Elected officials that do not protect us, whether it’s the community or the police…they should not be elected officials any longer,” he said.
Luther Campbell, a writer, activist and rapper, called the state attorney’s office “ground zero” for the concerns expressed at the rally.
“It ain’t that difficult,” he said. “Ten-20-Life will get their mind right. Just enforce the laws.