The entire Hallandale Police Department SWAT team has resigned from the team — but not the force — claiming that they are “often times restrained by the politicization of our tactics” amid anti-police brutality protests around the country.
The letter, written to Police Chief Sonia Quiñones Tuesday but made public Friday by ABC 10, argued that the SWAT team officers face “anguish and stress” when they are condemned for their actions in the field.
“The risk of carrying out our duties is no longer acceptable to us and our families,” the officers wrote.
The officers claimed they are ““minimally equipped (and) under trained” and accused the department of “placing the safety of dogs over the safety of the team members.”
“Until these conditions and sentiments are rectified and addressed, we cannot safely, effectively and in good faith carry out duties in this capacity without putting ourselves and our families at this needless increased level of risk,” they wrote.
The team also specifically mentioned 22-year-old Vice Mayor Sabrina Javellana, who kneeled with protesters, claiming she has made “ignorant and inaccurate statements attacking the lawful actions of the city’s officers and SWAT team, both from the dais and her social media accounts” and accused her of a “lack of support.”
Javellana has been outspoken about the shooting death of unarmed black man Howard Bowe, a 34-year-old father of three, in his home during a May 2014 drug raid.
Fifteen officers responded to Bowe’s home around 6 a.m., killed his pit bull and then broke down his apartment door, according to the Sun Sentinel. The officers then used a stun gun on Bowe, who was wearing only his underwear, and shot one bullet, hitting him in the chest inside his kitchen.
Bowe died 11 days later in the hospital.
Police found 18.5 grams of crack cocaine in his home during the investigation.
Officers also handcuffed Bowe’s 16-year-old son and removed him from the house over his father’s body.
Bowe’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and four police officers involved in the shooting, including Officer Christopher Allen, who resigned from the SWAT team last week, accusing them of “military-style raid committed a series of errors resulting in unnecessary confusion and chaos among the officers.”
A Broward County grand jury ruled that Bowe’s homicide “was the result of the justifiable use of deadly force,” according to the Sun Sentinel. His family was awarded a $425,000 settlement in 2018.
“She has shown that she takes pleasure in besmirching the hard work and dedication of the members of this professional agency, having the gall to compare us to the Minneapolis Police Department,” the SWAT team wrote in the letter.
Javellana told the Sun Sentinel that she doesn’t regret kneeling with the protesters, even after the mass resignation.
“I have been vocal about the wrongful death of Howard Bowe since even before I was in elected office,” she said. “We have our own George Floyds and Breonna Taylors in our own city that we must address before we can heal and reform.”
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