Blind Man Mistreated Over Marijuana
The Miami Dade Police Department claims to "treat all persons in a dignified and courteous manner, and exhibit understanding of ethnic and cultural diversity, both in our professional and personal endeavors," however, African Americans make up 19% of the population in Miami Dade County and account for well over 40% of weed-related arrests. On the evening of August 27th, Tannie "T-Man" Burke and two of his friends were approached by Miami Dade PD and accused of passing a joint to each other. While his peers were given tickets and agreed to appear in court at a later date, Burke was arrested and placed in the back of a squad car.
Burke, who has been legally blind since birth, does not stray far from where he was arrested. He has absolutely no vision in his right eye and limited to vague vision in his left. When the plain clothes cops encountered the three men, they did not find any marijuana on them but they claimed to find a discarded joint on the ground. What the cops claimed to have found was enough for them to ticket Burke's friends and place him under arrest.
"T-Man's" stepfather, Marvin Armstrong, recorded everything. In the video, you can see the officers lead Burke towards their vehicle in an awkward manner, causing him to bump into the car as they tried to force him inside. Armstrong then yells, "He's blind dumbass! If you don't tell him y'all walking to the car how the fuck is he going to know?" A short time later in the video, he is heard telling the cops to, "shut the hell up, man," after he was told to back up.
His stepfather's smart mouth may have angered the police and caused them to act irrationally. After being placed in the squad car, Burke was driven around for 20 minutes after leaving his street. The undercover officers were told about Burke being legally blind, but showed not sympathy. In fact, police told Burke, "Your stepfather got a lot of mouth. You know we don't like that." After the confusing car ride, Burke was left on the side of a dark road with no cell phone and no idea how to get home.
Though he was only one mile from home, he might as well have been in another state! With extremely limited vision and no way to find help, Burke kept one foot on the pavement and the other on the grass to stay out of the way of traffic. Forty-five minutes later, a stranger drove by and helped him find his way home.
The misdemeanor charges from that evening in August have been dropped. Burke is now filing a formal complaint against the department for the way he was mistreated on August 27th. The case is being investigated by the Miami Dade Police Department "Internal Affairs" unit.