Miami Beach Police vs. Hip Hop: Part 2
Before the Miami Beach Police got their hands on Tha Union Entertainment's own CALIBA, there was Titus "Stepchild" Berry. The only difference between them was that Titus is not a rapper, instead he just happen to be another black man at the other end of the Miami Beach Police's night sticks. A black man with a B.S. in physics and a master's degree in education from Tennessee State University who once had a promising career in the Miami-Dade County public school system.
The Miami New Times reports:
".. nearly four years ago, Friday, August 3, 2001 ... Titus Berry and [friend] Taisha Auguste were stopped in [a] ground-floor parking garage by two Miami Beach police officers .. who questioned Auguste before asking Berry to produce identification. When [Berry] asked the officers why they wanted to see his ID, one of them allegedly struck him violently across his face, knocking him unconscious for several seconds. "I never saw it coming," Berry says today. "It was totally unprovoked."
Berry says when he regained consciousness, he found himself face-down in a puddle and could hear the officers using racial epithets as they hit him; another officer, Sgt. Mario Rojo, who arrived after Moraga and Payne, began kicking him. "They called me a rap nigger," he recounts, noting that his beating occurred two weeks before Miami Beach hosted the first of two hip-hop music awards shows sponsored by The Source magazine. "They were telling me they were going to stick a broomstick up my ass. They were telling me they weren't going to let the rap niggers take over Miami Beach. I was trying to tell them I was a teacher. "
Things didn't get any better for Berry, after years of recovering from depression and homelessness following the incident, he was living back in Miami Beach and taking the police to court in a lawsuit over the beating. Then on April 14 about 2:30 a.m, Miami Beach police officers ran up into his apartment and threatened his life. He has since fled the city and is still fighting for his chance to get justice in court.
We pray and hope that all is well with Titus "Stepchild" Berry, a cool, laid-back personal friend who became another unfortunate victim of police brutality.
Read the full story here courtesy of the Miami New Times.
Also read about CALIBA's police brutality incident with the Miami Beach Police courtesty of the Urban America News Network.