MIAMI – Haitian leaders and the parents of high school students demanded an investigation Friday after Miami-Dade school police arrested more than two dozen students on charges that included resisting arrest and rioting.
Despite school officials saying they are investigating the clashes, community leaders and parents were still visibly upset, raising their voices and wanting to know their children’s whereabouts.
Of the 27 arrested in the morning disturbance at Miami Edison High School in Little Haiti, 15 were male and 12 were female students, schools police officials said.
Police officials told parents they would receive calls from their children soon after they had been processed.
In a crowded room at the Jean-Jacques Dessalines Center on Friday afternoon, Haitian leaders brought their concerns to Miami-Dade Schools Police Chief Gerald Darling and Miami-Dade Schools Associate Superintendent for school operations Freddie Woodson over how police handled the protest.
Marleine Bastien, executive director of Haitian Women of Miami and others at the meeting called for a full investigation and a list of students who were arrested.
Miami-Dade School Police Cmdr. Charles Hurley promised an investigation, but said the agency couldn’t release a list of the arrested juveniles, citing state law.
During the meeting, an Edison student wanted to know why her best friend, Agnes Bien-Aime, was arrested for trying to snap a photo during the disturbance.
“How is that appropriate?” said Marie Belfort, a 17-year-old senior at Edison. “I witnessed my friend getting arrested for no reason at all.”
Darling said he witnessed the melee firsthand. “I got milk, water, Gatorade and everything else thrown on me, and I was the chief of police,” said Darling. “Every arrest will be evaluated.”
Parents also wanted school officials to tell Miami-Dade Superintendent Rudy Crew to look at Assistant Principal Javier Perez’s handling of the incident.
Students and schools officials said the demonstration was held in response to a confrontation between Perez and a student.
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