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Police Shooting Sparks Riot in Miami

Angry Crowds Protest Death of Black Motorcyclist


MIAMI--Angry crowds burned a car and hurled rocks and bottles at police yesterday as violence flared anew after a night of rioting sparked by the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black motorcyclist by a white policeman.

Schools were closed and police cordoned off a 130-block area as city leaders sought to restore calm in the predominantly Black Overtown neighborhood.

But trouble erupted again when a white man in a luxury car reportedly fired into a crowd of Blacks in the area yesterday afternoon, wounding one person before driving away.

"All I know is that one person was hit in the side," police spokesman Angelo Bitsis said, adding that the unidentified victim was hospitalized in fair condition.

Police fired tear gas at the crowd and in turn were pelted by rocks and bottles. They then sealed off a several block area and shots could be heard from within.

The FBI announced that it would open an investigation into Monday night's shooting to determine whether there were civil rights violations, Miami bureau spokesperson George Kiszynski said.

"I can't tell you how long it will take, but it will be an extensive and thorough investigation and it will be done as promptly as possible," Kiszynski said.

Meanwhile, a passenger on the motorcycle who was injured when the driver crashed into a car after the shooting died yesterday at Jackson Memorial Hospital of massive head injuries, spokesperson Betty Baderman said.

Mayor Xavier Suarez, one of the targets of rock and bottle throwing Monday night, spent yesterday meeting with Black leaders and residents of Overtown, a neighborhood of rundown, low-slung apartment buildings and trash-strewn vacant lots, just north of downtown Miami.

"People are angry, people want a full explanation of what happened," said Suarez, who also expressed particular concern about the damage to Miami's image less than a week before the city hosts the Super Bowl.

At least two buildings and three cars were burned in the rioting, which broke out about two hours after a white police officer shot and killed the Black motorcyclist being chased for a traffic infraction. No damage estimates were available.

Authorities said seven civilians and three of the 280 police officers called to the scene were injured.

Police guarded a 130-block area of Overtown yesterday, warning motorists who passed through that they could not be guaranteed protection. Six schools were closed and some buses were rerouted, but authorities refused to declare an evening curfew.

The car of Associated Press photographer Mark Pesetsky was burned and he was roughed up by a mob when he attempted to take pictures of the crowd that had gathered near the site of yesterday's shooting.

Pesetsky, who was not seriously hurt, said he and two other photographers had been taken pictures from what he thought was a safe distance when the violence reached him.

"I saw someone coming around a building and throwing rocks, and I said 'Let's go, get out of here,'" Pesetsky said.

The disturbance recalled the bloody 1980 riot in adjacent Liberty City that also was linked to the death of a Black motorcyclist at the hands of white officers. A similar disturbance broke out in 1982 when a Black man was shot to death only a few blocks from where the latest incident began.

On Monday, Clement Lloyd, 23, died following a police chase that started just after 6 p.m.

Bitsis said Lloyd and a passenger on his motorcycle sped past a police officer, who gave chase. Then the motorcycle headed down a street where another officer, William Luzano, was taking a report from a crime victim.

"He heard the radio transmission and saw the s direction," Bitsis said. "As the motorcycle either motorcycle coming in hi approached him or went by him, he fired his shot."

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