Interview with Jessie McCrary

Around '78, '79, '80, tell me can you describe what the relationship between the police and the Black community was like.


The relationship between the police and the Black community is bad, horrible, miserable, detestable. And it goes back further than '79. You have to understand that in this town there was a time where if you were a Black policeman, you could not arrest a White person. There was a time where they had a separate precinct. And you have to understand that when the City of Miami got its first Black policeman, they went on the street and they got six guys who were 6 feet 4, gave them a gun and a badge and said, "You're a policeman." It was not until the 1960s, late '60s that Blacks, who applied for the Police Department, were even able to go to the Police Academy. So, you had a mentality in the Police Department that still prevails in many instances that, "I am a policeman. I am White. You are a Black. You will do as I say." And then there is the question of brutality. And the brutality has continued in this town and did not start to stop and government did not start to take some action until this town started burning. That's unfortunate. And we've had our share of burnings. But every time there has been a disturbance in this town, it's been because of police brutality.