Angry police dump blind black man in dark and deserted part of town in Miami

Tannie Burke, blind since birth arrested and dumped by police on dark street
Tannie Burke, blind since birth, arrested and dumped by police on dark street

The increase in police crossing the line in their behavior with black residents of South Dade County continue. This time the victim was Tannie Burke, 21, who has been blind since birth. Burke was one of three young black men who were seen by plainclothes detectives passing a joint in front of their apartment complex on Aug. 27 of this year.

The arrest by police was captured on videotape by Burke’s stepfather, Marvin Armstrong, as concerned citizens gather to ask the police “what was going on.” The crowd became upset and accused the police of racial profiling and harassment, which irritated the police. The police are heard on the video ordering the residents to keep on the grass. Armstrong is irate and concerned as the police release two of the individuals, but take his stepson into custody. Burke is told to walk towards the police car that he cannot see as people in the crowd shout to the police “he’s blind.”

Then according to Burke, he was driven around town for at least 20 minutes. During which time a police officer allegedly told him “Your stepfather has got a lot of mouth. You know we don’t like that.” It was then that Burke was taken to a dark and deserted part of town in a rural area. Burke was made to sign a citation he could not read and left alone by police. Burke, who can only see out of his right eye and make out general shapes, began to walk with one foot in the street and one foot in the grass so he would not wander. Eventually a stranger came along and led Burke back to his home. Burke said that being stopped and handcuffed in his community is a frequent occurrence. He states, “I feel they stopped me because they see a black man walking down the street. I don’t know what to say about it. I just feel bad about it. That’s it.” The charges were eventually dismissed against Burke two months later.

Burke’s family has now filed a complaint with the Miami Dade Police Department regarding the entire incident and how police treated him. The police declined to comment on the issue and stated that the incident is being investigated by internal affairs.

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