On May 18, 1980, an all-white jury found four Miami Dade Police Officers not guilty in the beating death of Arthur McDuffie, a black man killed during a traffic stop. In response to the verdict, unrest broke out across Miami.
On December 17, 1979, Mr. McDuffie — a 33-year-old African American insurance sales representative — was riding a motorcycle in Miami, Florida, when Metro-Dade Police Department (MDPD) officers signaled for him to pull over. Mr. McDuffie did not immediately comply and eventually led the police on an eight-mile chase through the city. When Mr. McDuffie was apprehended, MDPD officers beat him into a coma, though there was no evidence he physically resisted arrest. Officers later ran over Mr. McDuffie’s motorcycle to make it appear that his injuries had been caused by a traffic accident.