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Community Forum For Police-Involved Shooting Mired In Controversy Turns Heated

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A community hearing was held Tuesday evening in Perrine to address residents' concerns over a deadly police involved shooting which has become mired in controversy.

County Commissioner Dennis C. Moss, area pastors and local law enforcement had an update on the investigation and answer questions about the death of 21-year-old Jamar Rollins.

The pain heard in the voice of Rollins' mother set the tone for the evening.

"'Signed mortician,' picked the body up and confirm two shots to the leg, two shots to arm, the broken other arm and then a shot to the chest," she said. "That's my question, why so many shots?"

Rollins' aunt had dozens of questions for the leaders who attended the meeting.

"If in fact this was not a routine stop, then you I'm going to hold accountable," she said. "Why this officer, this killer, why was he allowed to be in this community to targeting these young men in the first place?"

Leaders from the Miami-Dade Police Department, the FDLE, and the mayor's office, at first, could only listen.

But they too were emotional and frustrated at what seemed to be a "them versus us" attitude.

"We've got to come together to figure out some way, not cause vitriol in this process," an officer said.

Although they offered new information, like the fact that the gun found on Rollins was stolen or that more guns were found nearby the scene, there was nothing they could say to quiet some in the crowd.

It began when Rollins was pulled over last Friday, Dec. 30th, at 10101 W Indigo Street for driving erratically, according to police. When the car came to a stop, the person in the passenger seat took off on foot.

"One of the officers engaged in a foot pursuit with the passenger of the vehicle at some point there," explained Miami-Dade police Sgt. Carlos Rosario at the time.

Rosario said Rollins "produced a firearm and the officer fired at the subject." Rollins was killed.

Witnesses have a very different story, however. They said Rollins, father of a year old son and avid dirt biker, was shot multiple times by police while he stood outside his car with his hands up.

Early on, the police union refuted the claim Rollins wasn't armed.

"He was not shot while he was outside of the car with his hands up. He was shot while he was still in the vehicle, pointing a firearm at a police officer. It's that simple," said John Rivera, President of the Florida Police Benevolent Association.

Late Tuesday evening, police released a flyer asking for the whereabouts of Devin "Rug Head" Smith. They have named him a person of interest and want to question him.

Devin Smith
(Source: Miami-Dade Police)

The officers involved in the shooting, both of which have nine years of service, are on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

If history repeats, it could be a year or more before the FDLE completes its probe of Friday's fatal shooting and longer than that for the State Attorney to decide if Rollins' death was justified.


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