A Miami police officer was fired Wednesday for fatally shooting an unarmed black man who was apparently holding nothing more than a cell phone.
Reynaldo Goyos was terminated for what the department deemed a violation of its "Deadly Use Policy" in the shooting death of 27-year-old Travis McNeil of Miami, the seventh black male killed by City of Miami police during an eight-month period two years ago.
The incident unfolded February 11, 2011, as Goyos was riding in an unmarked Chevy Suburban during a multi-agency nightclub surveillance detail in Miami's Little River neighborhood. Officers began tailing McNeil and his cousin after they left the Take One Lounge and appeared to be intoxicated.
Records state the men were pulled over at North Miami Avenue and 75th Street, at which point Goyos reportedly approached the vehicle yelling "Show me your hands!" and "Don't do it!" before shooting three times into the driver's side of McNeil's car, killing him and gravely wounding his cousin.
An ensuing search revealed there had been no weapons in the car, only two cells phones on the driver's side floorboard.
Then-Miami Police Chief Miguel Esposito came under fire by city commissioners and residents for perceived inaction taken against officers in the wake of the killings, which left the department embroiled in an investigation by the Department of Justice -- and families of the deceased fuming.
Though Goyos escaped charges related to the shooting last June, an internal investigation found the officer's story to be inconsistent in testimony and according to the department's standard procedure on suspected felony vehicular stops.
"The Firearms Review Board ruled that when Officer Goyos discharged his firearm, nor he or another person was in imminent danger of death or serious physical injury," read the official reprimand.
The firing brought little comfort, but some closure, to McNeil's mother.
"My heart is real heavy still because nothing will bring my son back," Sheila McNeil told NBC6. "But to know that they thought enough to actually fire this officer makes me feel a little better."
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