Thursday, December 16, 2010

Miami's police chiefs: a troubled history

Miami mayor Tomas Regalado stands behind 
his man, Chief Miguel Exposito.

Miguel Exposito is learning the hard way that the job of being Miami's top cop is not for anyone who cherishes job security or a stress-free work environment.

In the the year he's been on the job he's also undoubtedly learned that the constant scrutiny and second guessing from the politicians at city hall can be just as oppressive as a Miami summer.

The Miami Herald's Chuck Rabin reported Sunday that Exposito "is the subject of growing speculation about his job security, after a first year that included four fatal shootings by officers, a videotape of police punching a man several times while he's pinned down, a botched attempt to control an unruly crowd and some anti-corruption investigations that fizzled."

Exposito runs a department with a checkered past.

In the fifties Miami cops were accused of being soft on gambling and bookmakers.

In Dec. 1967, Chief Walter Headley, frustrated by a week of violence, gained national attention by threatening to send his cops into high crime areas with police dogs and shotguns.

In the eighties it was hard to tell the drug dealers from the Miami cops.

In the nineties there was more corruption and the high-profile case of cops shooting unarmed suspects and then planting guns and orchestrating cover-ups.

Last August, following four fatal shootings by Miami police over a six-week period, the Herald reported that some wondered "if police under new Chief Miguel Exposito have become overly aggressive."

Miami mayor Tomas Regalado appeared to back Exposito.

"Regalado," the Herald reported, "began showing up at crime scenes with promises to ''take back the streets,'' by flooding those neighborhoods with cops. At one point, he raised eyebrows by challenging the well-armed gangs he believes responsible for several incidents, saying: ''We are going to respond to violence with violence.''

But that was then and this is now. Three months later, Regalado appears to be backing off in his support of the chief.

``It's all on Exposito,'' Mayor Tomás Regalado said, referring to police chief Miguel Exposito and the problems on his watch," the Herald reported Sunday.

If Exposito gets to keep hs job he'll almost certainly be in for more turbulence.

And if he goes, he'll just be the latest in a long line of Miami police chiefs to get swept up in Miami city politics.

In 1988 the Miami Herald compiled a list of 12 police chiefs that had served Miami since 1928. The Herald wrote that "politics played some part in the resignations or firing of eight of them."

CLARENCE DICKSON [first black police chief,] 1985-88. Resigned, saying he was "frustrated with the antics of the City Commission." ["I just didn't want to work for the City Commission anymore," said Dickson. "They didn't like me and I wasn't crazy about them."]

HERBERT BRESLOW, 1984-85. Resigned amid rumors he would be fired. Closely identified with former City Manager Howard Gary, Breslow's main foe was ex-Commissioner Joe Carollo, who didn't like Gary. [According to the Herald: "Breslow was chief less than a year, the shortest tenure ever in that post. He became chief at 2:47 a.m. Jan. 27, 1984, when former City Manager Howard Gary fired Harms. Breslow resigned Jan. 2, 1985, amid rumors he was headed for a similar fate." ]

KENNETH T. HARMS, 1978-84. Fired in a 2:47 a.m. phone call by City Manager Gary, the climax of a long feud between the two. Harms believed Gary was interfering in his department; Gary said the chief didn't follow orders. Gary was fired by commissioners nine months later.

GARLAND P. WATKINS, 1975-78. Unexpectedly resigned to move to Tennessee. He would not elaborate on his reasons for leaving and denied reports of a rift with City Manager Joseph Grassie. Watkins had been unhappy about forced layoffs and budget cuts.

BERNARD L. GARMIRE, 1969-74. Resigned under pressure after a series of City Commission inquiries and a Dade grand jury report criticized morale in the police department. Garmire's resignation followed a year of confrontation with Mayor Maurice Ferre.

WALTER E. HEADLEY, 1948-68. Died in office. He had a running battle with Mayors Abe Abronovitz and Robert King High, but the Florida Supreme Court, in a lawsuit involving Headley, ruled he could not be fired unless specific charges were brought up.

FRANK MITCHELL, 1946-48. Resigned after City Manager R.G. Danner was ousted by the City Commission. "I refuse to stay and see it torn down," he said of his department.

CHARLES O. NELSON, 1944-46. Forced to resign by City Manager Danner, who was not pleased with gambling in the city. Danner wanted the police department to eliminate all gambling.

HOWARD LESLIE QUIGG, 1921-28 and 1937-44. Twice fired; in 1928 after a grand jury indictment in a police shooting and in 1944 after he refused to follow City Manager A.B. Curry's order to quell a strike by Miami Transit bus drivers.

JOHN B. ROWLAND, 1936-37. Forced out of office by city administrators who wanted to replace Rowland with Quigg . Rowland was named a deputy sheriff.

GUY C. REEVE, 1928-33 and S. D. McCREARY, 1933-36, also were police chiefs. Existing records do not show why they left.
In the 22 years since that list was compiled by the Herald, eight more have headed the Miami police department.

PERRY ANDERSON Jr., 1988-1991.

CALVIN ROSS, 1991-1994.

DONALD WARSHAW, 1994 -1998. Resigned to become Miami city manager.

WILLIAM O'BRIEN, 1998 - 2000. Resigned April 28, 2000 in the wake of the political fallout over the seizure of Elian Gonzalez. ``I refuse to be chief of police when someone as divisive and destructive as Joe Carollo is mayor,'' O'Brien said.

RAUL MARTINEZ, 2000 - 2003. Martinez, the Herald reported at the time, "was one of several targets in a failed 1980s federal corruption probe of Miami Police that included allegations he helped destroy evidence against drug smugglers, shared bribes, and skimmed cash and drugs from seizures, according to FBI documents."

"Several Miami Police Department veterans and federal law enforcement agents expressed surprise at Martinez 's appointment last week, noting that it was well known Martinez had invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination before a federal grand jury. in 1984," reported the Herald.

Two and a half years later, Martinez resigned as chief. From the Herald: "His resignation came just two days after a Herald series that documented dozens of questionable shootings involving Miami police officers over the last decade."

Martinez was replaced by outsider John Timoney, who had gained a reputation as a tough cop on the mean streets of Philadelphia and New York. Timoney took over reins of the department in Jan. 2003.

In interviews with the Herald Timoney "referred to himself repeatedly as an expert on the police use of 'deadly physical force.'"

"He said some Miami officers have been involved in 'too many' deadly police shootings during the past decade, adding that officers constantly involved in shootings should be reassigned 'for their own good, and for the good of the public.' "

But despite the fact that the department under Timoney went almost two years without an officer firing a gun, his tenure was not without controversy.

In 2007 he came under fire after it was learned that he had been given free use of a Lexus.

But that paled in comparison to charges that his department had trampled the rights of demonstrators during the FTAA demonstrations in 2003.

Timoney lasted almost 6 years.

In Nov. 2009, "Timoney announced his resignation just as [newly elected mayor Tomas] Regalado stood among hundreds of supporters on the dais at City Hall for his swearing-in," wrote Rabin.

So, will Exposito stay or go?

Exposito, who is 56, has been with the department for 36 years. At some point he may just decide that he's had enough - and like Clarence Dickson in 1988 or Bill O'Brien in 2000 - tell the suits at city hall to "take this job and shove it."

If that happens, the city will start a search for his successor.

But before anyone decides they'd like to be the next Miami police chief, they'd do well to read up on some history.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Elvis visits Miami - Aug. 1956

In 1956, Miami had only been a city for 60 years.

In the years since its founding in 1896, the town had grown from a small settlement on the banks of the Miami River with a population of a thousand, to a bustling mid-sized city of a quarter-million.

On the surface, 1950's Miami appeared to be small-town friendly.

Day-to-day life was simple, uncomplicated.

Former Florida governor and U.S. senator Bob Graham, a 19 year-old college freshman in 1956, remembers the time fondly: "There wasn't a better time and place to grow up. Miami was a relatively small and neighborly place; quiet and laid back."

South Florida's two or three television stations signed off shortly after midnight. Radio station playlists included songs by World War II era singers like Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Dean Martin and Kay Starr.

Downtown Miami was the city's business, entertainment and cultural hub. Plans for large suburban shopping centers with multi-screen theaters were still on the drawing boards. The influx of Cuban refugees would not occur for another five years.

My-am-uh - as many locals called it - was as Southern, conservative and deeply religious as any comparably sized town in Alabama, Georgia or Mississippi.

The city's afternoon newspaper, the Miami Daily News, printed a Bible verse daily on its editorial page. On Saturdays the Miami Herald carried two pages of church news.

But for those who cared to look, an undercurrent of unfairness was visible just below Miami's placid facade.

White males dominated the city's political power structure, businesses and newspapers and the word "change" was not in their vocabulary. They made the rules and inequality was the rule of the day. Blacks were barred from restaurants, theaters and beaches frequented by whites. Miami's schools - like the rest of the South - were also segregated.

 "Before Elvis, there was nothing." -John Lennon

In August 1956, a lavender Lincoln Premiere speeding south on US1 was bringing change to Miami - whether it wanted it or not. One of the car's occupants was a 21 year-old Memphis truck driver-turned-singer named Elvis Presley.

Presley was no post-war balladeer. He sang "rock 'n roll"... a new kind of music that took its name from a euphemism for raunchy sex - as in "my baby loves to rock 'n roll all night long."

   "This boy had everything. He had the looks, the moves, the manager, and the talent. And he didn’t look like Mr. Ed like a lot of the rest of us did. In the way he looked, way he talked, way he acted - he really was different." -Carl Perkins

Read the rest of the story of Elvis Presley's 1956 Miami visit by clicking here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Nov. 1960 - the "new" Lincoln Road debuts

In 1960 shopping malls were a relatively new idea. In an editorial on Nov. 29, 1960, The Miami News called the new Lincoln Road Mall a "laboratory."

Three days earlier on Nov. 26, the "new" Lincoln Road - designed by architect Morris Lapidus - had been dedicated.

But in 1983, the mall's better days were behind it.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

Miami's first black cop killed

from the Miami Daily News, Feb. 16, 1951

Related story here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"The corpse had a familiar face"

The Dec. 11, 1974; "mob rubout" of Miami Beach attorney Harvey St. Jean, who was murdered in broad daylight.

The Miami News speculated on the identity of the killer in the Dec. 13, 1974 issue of the paper.

And Miami Herald crime reporter Edna Buchanan, in writing about St. Jean's murder, penned one of the more famous lines in true crime writing, "The corpse had a familiar face," which became the title of her classic memoir.

St. Jean's murder was never solved.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Friday, May 7, 2010

Royal Castle's 15 cent hamburgers

An ad for Royal Castle from the Miami Daily News, Dec. 3, 1956

Not much to say except that you have to be really old to remember 15 cent hamburgers at Royal Castle!

Click image to enlarge

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Getting tough on jaywalkers

Miami News columnist Bill Baggs, in a July 13, 1955 column, recounts a day 30 years earlier when one Miami police officer took a no-tolerance stance against jaywalkers!

Click to enlarge.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

WTVJ, Florida's first television station - March 19, 1949

An ad in the Miami Daily News, March 19, 1949 for the first broadcast on WTVJ, Florida's first TV station which would go on the air two days later.

The News printed a special section full of news about the new medium on March 20, 1949.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Jan. 1947: Al Capone on brink of death

From the Miami Daily Daily News, Jan. 25, 1947

Story reported by legendary newsman  Milt Sosin


Capone's brother, Ralph, carries beer to reporters on deathwatch outside Capone's Palm Island home, January, 1947. photo via LIFE magazine archives.


Miami Daily News, Jan. 26, 1947: Curious Watch Home of Capone

Miami Daily News, Jan. 26, 1947: Capone Dies at Island Villa


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pan Am seaplanes (1930's)

Giant clipper ships at hangars, Pan-American Airways terminal (now Miami City Hall), with U. S. Coast Guard Air Base in background.

-image via University of Miami Digital Archives

McDuffie riots - May 1980

Miami News, May 19, 1980

Miami News, May 20, 1980

Friday, April 9, 2010

FBI shootout - April 11, 1986

The Miami News, April 11, 1986


UPDATED on July 31, 2014: The Miami FBI Shootout - The Lost Tapes


Saturday, April 12, 1986
by MARC FISHER and JAMES A. FUSSELL Herald Staff Writers

Two FBI agents and two bank robbery suspects were killed and five more FBI men were wounded Friday morning when a wild shoot-out -- the most devastating in FBI history -- erupted on a residential street in Kendall.

More than 100 shots from automatic weapons, shotguns and pistols tore across the suburban Miami street just south of the Suniland Shopping Plaza. The shooting, which started at about 9:35 a.m., lasted more than five minutes.

Agents in front of a white house at 12201 SW 82nd Ave. tried to protect themselves with big white bulletproof bibs -- to no avail. When it was over, only one of eight FBI agents emerged unscathed.

Both robbers -- who were driving a car they had stolen from a man they had robbed and shot at a West Dade rock pit last month -- were sprawled in the street, dead.

So were the two agents who had chased the suspects up South Dixie Highway, behind the Dixie Belle shopping center and onto the narrow street of large, single-story homes.

The two slain agents were identified as Benjamin Grogan, 53, an FBI man for nearly 20 years, and Gerald Dove, 30, an agent since 1982.

Five more FBI agents who had responded almost immediately to a call for help were shot, three of them seriously injured. Agents John Hanlon, 48, who suffered a gunshot wound to his thigh, and Gordon McNeil, 43, shot in the chest, were at Baptist Hospital, where both were listed in serious condition.

At South Miami Hospital, agent Edmundo Mireles, 33, was in critical but stable condition with a bullet wound to his left forearm.

Two other agents -- Richard Manauzzi, 43, and Gilbert Orrantia, 27 -- were treated at Baptist for surface wounds and were released, the FBI said.

"This went down so fast it was unbelievable," said witness Billie Holloway, who lives down the block from the crime scene. "We heard a few shots and then a little quiet. We went outside and heard the car crash. Then the shots just opened up.

"Living in Miami, you know, Miami Vice, I figured it was another drug bust," Holloway said. "It's Miami. You just try to stay alive."

The FBI men were the 28th and 29th agents to be killed in the line of duty. The last time two FBI agents were killed in a single incident was in 1979.

In Washington, FBI Director William Webster called Friday the darkest day in the agency's history. Never before had so many agents been killed or wounded in one incident.

"Miami has had a very difficult time -- a lot of different problems," Webster said. But, he added, "I would certainly not characterize it as a place to stay away from."

Along 82nd Avenue, there were bullet holes everywhere, in the sides of cars, in the concrete wall behind the shopping center.

Thought it was war

"Phil Donahue had just come on when it happened," said May Stemas, who lives nearby. "I thought it was a war."

Using fingerprints, Metro detectives identified the robbers as William Matix, 34, and Michael Lee Platt , 32, both of South Dade. The men were suspects in two robberies of the Barnett Bank branch at 13593 South Dixie Highway earlier this year.

Property records show that Matix and Platt each owned a three-bedroom, two-bathroom $100,000 home. Matix's has a patio, central air-conditioning and a six-foot-deep pool.

Police said Matix and Platt were members of the Rock Pit Gang, a small, ruthless group of criminals whose robberies have terrorized armored car drivers, bank customers and target shooters in Dade since at least October 1985.

Neither Matix nor Platt had ever been arrested either in Dade County or anywhere in the nation, police said late Friday night.

FBI Director Webster, asked whether the robbers are members of Aryan Nation, the neo-Nazi group responsible for robberies and shootings in Western states, said, "We don't have enough information to make a definitive statement . . . but we are looking at this aspect very, very closely."

Not on rolls

A spokeswoman for the Aryan Church of Jesus Christ Christian in Hayden Lake, Idaho -- sometimes referred to as the Aryan Nation -- said neither Matix nor Platt are listed on the group's membership rolls.

On Jan. 10, Matix and Platt are believed to have shot a Brink's guard, Ernesto Maranje, at the Barnett branch. Left for dead, Maranje is recovering from the wounds. Both times they hit Barnett, the robbers escaped in a gold Monte Carlo.

Friday night, Metro police were searching for another stolen vehicle, a white 1984 Ford 150 pickup, license tag 538CUW. The pickup, like the Monte Carlo driven by the slain robbers, was stolen by members of the Rock Pit Gang.

According to police and witnesses, this is what happened:

FBI agents -- part of a joint FBI -Metro police investigation of bank and armored car robberies -- staked out several South Dade banks Friday morning, expecting members of the Rock Pit Gang to rob one. The gang liked to hit banks on Fridays, said Joseph Corless, special agent in charge of the Miami FBI office.

Agents Grogan and Dove saw a dark Chevrolet Monte Carlo pass by the bank they were watching several times.

Suspicious, they fell in behind the car and followed. One of the agents realized that the Monte Carlo was stolen from the victim of the March 12 robbery at a rock pit at SW 16th Street and 157th Avenue.

They checked records and confirmed that the Monte Carlo belonged to the rock pit victim, Jose Collazo. The FBI had its men.

The agents chased the Monte Carlo north on South Dixie Highway between SW 132nd and 134th streets.

"The agents called for help, for assistance and sometime after they felt they had sufficient backup they attempted to make the arrest," Corless said.

After radioing for help, the two agents chased the suspects' car north, zigzagging on side streets, then heading north onto SW 82nd Avenue. Several witnesses said they heard volleys of gunfire as the cars zoomed up the street.

As the Monte Carlo reached SW 122nd Street, the suspects saw another FBI vehicle, a gray car, coming at them from the north. Surrounded, the men panicked and slammed into a black olive tree in front of the house at 12201 SW 82nd Ave.

As the car stopped, the suspects jumped out and opened fire with .223-caliber automatic weapons.

The two FBI agents who had originally spotted the pair had pulled their cream-colored Buick in behind the Monte Carlo. They died getting out of their cars.

Witness Pam Johnson said she saw a man dressed in olive fatigues, apparently one of the suspects, run across a lawn holding a weapon "like a submachine gun. Then he just started firing. The other guys behind the car started shooting at him, and then it was a gun battle."

Johnson, who was working at a gallery across the street
from the shoot-out, said she saw two FBI cars crash, ending up in a V-formation behind the robbers' car. When she saw one of the robbers coming toward her with an automatic weapon, Johnson ducked behind her turquoise 1973 BMW.

"I've never seen gunfire before," she said. "I've never seen men die. At first I didn't believe it. I've been so television-conditioned that I didn't know what danger I was in. And then it hit me. I thought, My God, I'm ducking behind my car for my life.

"My husband came 15 or 20 minutes after it happened, and he said, 'That's it. It's time to get out of Miami.' "

FBI agents across the street from the robbers tried to hide behind cars and white bulletproof shields. At least two FBI agents held their fire to let motorists pass by; the suspects showed no such courtesy.

"I heard an automobile crash, then I heard light gunfire," said Bob Stebbins, who lives three doors from the shoot-out and was working on the tulips in his garden when he heard the crash. "I saw somebody sitting behind a car with a gun. I didn't know what the hell was going on. I saw the guy (an agent) get hit, in the street. He was like a beached whale. He rolled back and started flopping back and forth. God, it was awful."

Stebbins saw another agent shot: "He just went down like a jackknife -- boom. He was still alive and he kept popping up and firing, going down again, popping up and firing.

"It looked like a visit to Tamiami Gun Shop," Stebbins said. "When you look at what these robbers had in the way of guns, I feel that our law enforcement officers are at a tremendous disadvantage. Geez, they could have taken Fort Knox with what they had."

Rescue units began arriving at 9:42. An air rescue helicopter arrived at 9:51 and took two of the seriously injured agents to Baptist Hospital.

Throughout the shoot-out, girls at the Momentum School of Dance, separated from the bloody scene only by two concrete walls, kept going through their ballet steps, smiling into the mirrors along the wall.

Outside, witnesses yelled to customers driving out of the Farm Store three doors away from the shoot-out.

"Don't drive through there, they're all shooting," one woman shouted. But shoppers ignored her.

"These idiots just kept driving," Holloway said.

For nearly four hours after the shoot-out, the bodies, two 12-gauge pump shotguns and two pistols lay scattered in the street, near pools of blood and cars riddled with bullet holes. The agents were covered with yellow plastic sheets. The robbers lay exposed to the hot sun, their clothes drenched in darkened blood.

A 9-year-old boy, Jamie Harper, slipped back and forth through the police line, then sat down with a magic marker and a piece of paper to draw a picture of the scene.

"It gives me cold chills," he said. "I was crying. Not for myself, but for the men who were hurt and dead in the street."

Parents brought little children up a ramp of a parking garage to see the crime scene, where more than 100 federal agents, Metro police, state troopers and other investigators milled about.

At 12:55 p.m., the two slain agents were picked up in separate black hearses. The bodies of the suspects were loaded into a blue van.

Metro police brought in the Centac unit, a special squad that investigates organized crime and homicide cases, to interview the unhurt FBI agents for nearly two hours.

"These guys were good guys, these guys were my friends," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Kehoe, who left a trial to go to the scene of the shoot-out.

Witnesses said a frustrated officer vented his feelings on the corpse of a robber.

"One of the detectives, a guy in a striped shirt, started kicking the fat guy in the head, kicked him three or four times just out of frustration, and another officer pulled him away," said witness Michael Budwig.

Another witness, Sonny Nomes, said she saw a police officer approach one of the dead robbers and start "kicking him in the side, enough to break his ribs. He kicked him again and again. He wouldn't stop."

Nomes' son, Jamie Harper, said "They just kicked him and left him there. It seemed like they didn't care about the bad guys."

"I wouldn't even dignify that with a comment," said FBI spokesman Paul Miller.

Police also arrested Miami Herald photographer Albert Coya and New York Times reporter Joseph Treaster. Coya was charged with trespass after warning and with obstructing a police officer. Police said Treaster slipped past the police line, stepped on a handgun and kicked shell casings around.

Doctors at Baptist and South Miami hospitals were encouraged by the conditions of the injured agents late Friday.

Dr. Gerald Young, trauma surgeon at Baptist, said, "Fortunately, they were brought here in a timely fashion. Neither one has life-threatening injuries."

Agent Hanlon was in "good spirits," Young said. "He has been medicated for pain, but he has seen his wife and he seems quite happy." Hanlon and McNeil also suffered hand injuries.

"The next 24 to 48 hours are crucial," Young said. "No bullets have been removed."

McNeil's daughter, an eighth-grader, said, "My daddy was really worried. He really cares about his agents. He wanted them to be all right."

Herald staff writers Andres Viglucci, Brian Duffy, Fabiola Santiago, Jeff Leen, Al Messerschmidt, Susan Sachs and Phil Kuntz contributed to this report.

Friday, August 1, 1986
by ANDRES VIGLUCCI Herald Staff Writer

FBI agents and two suspected bank robbers exchanged at least 131 shots during the April 11 shootout on a residential South Dade street that left two agents and the two gunmen dead, autopsy reports released Thursday show.

Forty of the bullets were fired by Michael Lee Platt, a former U.S. Army Ranger, who carried a rapid-fire, .223-caliber Ruger Mini-14 assault rifle.

In fact, the investigation of the shootout shows that Platt did virtually all the shooting on the robbers' side. His partner, William R. Matix, was armed with a shotgun loaded with birdshot. He fired only once, hitting the front of an FBI car, investigators said.

Four of Platt's shots killed agents Gerald Dove and Benjamin Grogan at near point-blank range as they crouched behind an FBI sedan after a chase through the streets behind the Suniland Shopping Center on South Dixie Highway. They were both shot in the back.

Another bullet hit Dove's 9mm service pistol, destroying it.

Five other FBI agents were wounded during the shootout , the bloodiest toll in the bureau's history. The Dade County Medical Examiner's office released the four autopsy reports Thursday after a request by The Miami Herald.

The reports generally confirm accounts given by investigators in the days following the shootout .

Platt was shot 12 times, the reports said. Matix was shot six times. Tests showed no evidence of drugs or alcohol in their blood.

According to the reports, Dove, 30, died of multiple gunshot wounds. Shot once in the back by Platt, he collapsed on the sidewalk. He was then shot twice in the head. One bullet grazed his forehead, and the second entered his brain above the right eyebrow.

Grogan, 53, was shot once. The bullet perforated both lungs and cut his aorta, the main artery carrying blood from the heart. His left leg was grazed by another bullet.

Initial accounts by investigators said Matix had fired the Mini-14. But using bloodstains to trace the pair's movements, they have determined that Platt used the assault rifle.

Platt also carried two .357 revolvers, which he fired three times each, apparently without hitting any of the agents directly, investigators said.

Platt and Matix were finally stopped when wounded agent Edmundo Mireles shot them with his .38 Special as they tried to get away in Grogan's car.

Mireles hit Matix, 34, in the face and neck. One bullet entered under his right eye and struck his spine. He was also hit in the face, jaw and right forearm.

Platt, 32, was hit in the chest, the right arm and leg and both feet. One bullet lodged in his spine.

Platt was wearing grey cut-off shorts, a grey pullover, a blue-beige nylon jacket, sneakers, an empty shoulder holster and black gloves.

Matix wore a blue sweater, a red bandanna tied around his neck with a wide rubber band, an empty shoulder holster, a grey- blue shirt, blue jeans and Nike running shoes.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Beatles visit Miami - Feb. 13, 1964

The Miami News, Feb. 14, 1964

Beatles clown around with Cassius Clay at the 5th Street Gym, 
Miami Beach.  (Click here to enlarge.)
Miami News photo by Charles Trainor, Sr.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

Miami Beach bathing beauties

Miami Beach, 1925

Miami Beach, 1934

photographs by Gleason Waite Romer from the Florida Photographic Collection

Doctors order complete rest for Fidel Castro!

HAVANA  (AP) - Ailing Fidel Castro has reportedly moved out of his well-guarded suburban home to another well-guarded but more secluded resting place.

from the Miami Daily News, Aug. 3, 1960.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Miami Beach's drug dealing police chief

from the Miami Daily News, Dec. 2, 1925.

In 1925, Miami Beach Police Chief Damon Lewis was sentenced to 7 years in prison for running a "dope ring."

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Joe's Stone Crab robbed!

A robbery of Joe's Restaurant (forerunner of Joe's Stone Crab) thwarted by a Miami Beach motorcycle cop! Miami Daily News Sept. 8, 1925.

Miami Daily News - Sept. 8, 1925

They day they ran short of ice in Miami Beach! From the Miami Daily News, Sept. 8, 1925.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Miami News - Jan. 2, 1959


Correspondent of The Miami News
HAVANA, Jan.2 - Rebel leader Fidel Castro today
is in complete control of the republic of Cuba.

With the Batista dictatorship toppled and all the principal
cities of the nation in rebel hands, it appears that the bloody
two-year-old civil war has come to an end.

Miami News, Jan. 2, 1959

A blog is born

Since discovering the defunct Miami News archived on Google, I've spent countless hours poring over old issues of the paper.

Rather than continue posting my finds at Random Pixels, I've decided there's enough fascinating material on Google - and elsewhere on the Net - to start a new blog devoted solely to Miami history.

Hope you enjoy.

Image via University of Miami Digital Archive