Presently, the Miami Police Department is investigating reports that an enforcement officer has ordered arrest quotas in Little Haiti.
It has now been reported in various blogs that “Miami Police Sgt. Jason Ferguson appears to instruct five of his subordinate officers to each conduct ‘a minimum’ of five tickets, ‘1-2 arrests,’ and ‘5-10 Watch orders / Park and Walks / Directed Patrol.’” These reports have raised questions about quotas and how they may affect police behavior and your rights.
Quotas of this sort should be a concern to any citizen, as they create an environment in which officers may be prodded to look for unnecessary violations or they may also influence officers to act in a manner that violates rights in a subtle or overt manner.
A police officer under the pressure of having to make a certain number of arrests or give out a prearranged number of tickets could easily end up violating your Fourth Amendment rights, which protect you from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Additionally, when a quota is established that focuses on a specific geographic area in which a certain ethnicity or race lives, there is a question regarding whether or not a group’s civil rights are being compromised.
Such quotas that target a specific population may be a violation of the Equal Protection Clause, which is part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Are Arrest Quotas Illegal?
Although arrest quotas may raise red flags as far as police conduct is concerned, there is a question as to whether or not they are illegal in the State of Florida. Quotas concerning the issuing of traffic citations are prohibited by state law, but arrest quotas do not seem to be specifically defined.
Maj. Delrish Moss of the Miami Police Department has noted that they are still trying to determine if the email attributed to Sgt. Ferguson did actually come from him, and Maj. Moss stated, “The Miami Police Department does not encourage nor do we support the use of quotas.”
He added, “We do not instruct our employees to engage in quotas, and if we find that the email is in fact from Sgt. Ferguson, he will be reprimanded accordingly.”
Moss also said, “At this point we have no fear that anyone’s constitutional rights have been violated because we have no information to support that these directives, if they were in fact given, were ever acted upon.”
Are You the Victim of a Quota?
It may be difficult to determine if you have been a victim of an imposed quota. If you have been arrested in Little Haiti, or any other part of the Miami area, you should first contact the aggressive criminal defense lawyer Miami before answering any questions posed by police.
Everyone who is arrested has the right to remain silent when questioned by police and to have access to a lawyer before and during interrogation.
Too often those who have been arrested will, in an attempt to be cooperative, offer information that can be used against them in a court of law even though they have done nothing wrong. Innocent statements can be misconstrued and misinterpreted in many ways.
Preserving Your Rights
The top Miami criminal attorney at The Law Office of Paul J. Donnelly, P.A., are dedicated to preserving your rights, which include protections against unreasonable searches and seizures and equal protection in relationship to the law.
Please contact us if you believe that your rights have been violated or if you have been arrested. The team of criminal defense attorneys at The Law Office of Paul J. Donnelly, P.A., will be aggressive and vociferous in their defense of you and your rights.