Miami police chief: Court shutdowns have led to increased violence in South Florida

MIAMI (WSVN) - The City of Miami’s new police chief is suggesting the court system’s pandemic shutdowns have led to increased violence in South Florida.

Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo pointed at the county’s judges when it comes to gun violence in the region.

“Let me just tell the judges, we’re not going to play this game here,” Acevedo said. “I’m not here to make friends. I’m here for the victims. What’s happening in this country is our courts have been shut down. They’ve been shut down for over a year, and it’s time for the courts to open up and do their jobs.”

Chief Judge of the Miami-Dade Courts Bertila Soto released a statement in response to the chief’s comments.

“Thank you for the opportunity to set the record straight on the misconception that courts are closed,” she wrote. “The Miami-Dade Courts have been open and functioning at full capacity on the Zoom video platform since April of 2020 … Thanks to our very quick pivot in late March of 2020 to new remote appearance technologies, we remain open and ready to provide safe access to justice for any case that may be brought before the courts.”

Acevedo’s comments come after the latest murder in the city brought him to his knees to pray with the victim’s family.

“We’ve had three murders in the last three weeks since I’ve been here, and it’s not acceptable,” Acevedo said.

According to Soto, the county has overseen nearly 500,000 virtual court proceedings, but Acevedo said the courts need to do more.

“It’s time for the criminal justice system to open and operate at full capacity. It is time,” Acevedo said.

The chief added if criminals feared the justice system, he believes the crime rate would drop.

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