Charles Trainor Jr / Miami Herald

Youssef Wardani never considered himself an activist.

He’s a fairly soft-spoken software engineer. He’s very organized and believes everything should have a plan from start to finish.

Activism for him was a sudden evolution  sparked by a Broward teacher who called his 14-year-old son a "raghead Taliban” and the bureaucracy of a school system he felt ignored him when he demanded accountability.

His son, Deyab-Houssein Wardani, 14, is a ninth grader at Cypress Bay High School in Weston. Everyone calls him D.H.

Schplook / Flickr/Creative Commons


  On the Florida Roundup, we talk to the area's journalists about the week's top stories.

2011 Memorial Day Weekend Shooting

Police Will Face No Charges In 2011 Memorial Day Shooting On Miami Beach

Mar 18, 2015

  Prosecutors will not charge the police officers who killed a motorist on South Beach in a hail of bullets after a chaotic chase during Memorial Day weekend four years ago.

In a long-awaited ruling on the controversial incident, the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office officially ruled Tuesday that the 12 officers were “legally justified” in killing Raymond Herisse after he plowed into several cars and nearly ran over several bicycle cops. Police bullets — over 100 were fired in all — also wounded four bystanders.

Nadege Green / WLRN

The Broward County School Board voted Tuesday to suspend a teacher who was accused of calling her student "a raghead Taliban."

Maria Valdes, a French teacher at Cypress Bay High School, will be suspended for five days without pay and must complete mandatory diversity training.

The school board passed the item with no discussion.

Valdes allegedly made the comments to 14-year-old Deyab Houssein Wardani as he entered class wearing a hoodie.

Hector Gabino / El Nuevo Herald

It happened again.

Spanish-language, Miami-area-based Univision -- the nation's fifth-largest television network -- has another racial insensitivity mess to clean up.

On Wednesday, Univision talk show host and fashion commentator Rodner Figueroa said first lady Michelle Obama -- America's first African-American first lady -- looks like an apocalyptic ape.

Nadege Green / WLRN

The City of Miami voted today to pay nearly $1 million to the estate of an unarmed man who was shot and killed by a Miami police officer.

Miami Officer Reynaldo Goyos killed Travis McNeil, 28, during a traffic stop in Little Haiti four years ago.

During an internal affairs interview about the shooting, Goyos said that during the traffic stop McNeil reached toward his waistband area.

“At that time I said 'don’t do it,' gave him a loud verbal command: 'Don’t do it.' And at that time I saw a black object coming up,” he said in the interview.


About a week after news broke that North Miami Beach police officers were using mugshots of black men for target practice, the city’s police chief J. Scott Dennis met quietly with a group of black residents to apologize in an emergency meeting.

“Listen you got to hear it from the heart. We’re sorry,” he said to about 40 people in the Washington Park Community Center. “My police department is sorry and I represent that department. We made a mistake.”


The North Miami Beach Police Department has been using mugshots of young black men for target practice during sniper drills.

The practice drew international headlines after Valerie Deant recognized her brother’s mugshot on a bullet-riddled target sheet at a Medley gun range after North Miami Beach police left.

John Walther / Miami Herald staff

Much has been written about the close bonds forged between Jews and African-Americans in Miami in the 1950s at the start of the civil rights movement.  But a more complex, conflicted side of that relationship has fired the imagination of local novelist Joan Lipinsky Cochran.  

National Guard Sgt. Valerie Deant and her fellow soldiers went last month to a firing range in Medley, Fla. What they saw there made them angry. Not only had North Miami Beach Police snipers who had used the range before them used mug shots of six African-American men as targets, but one of the men pictured was Deant's brother. The mug shots were riddled with bullets.