Friday, September 7, 2012
McDuffie was a former Marine and insurance salesman who was viciously beaten by Miami-Dade Police officers Ira Diggs, William Hanlon, Michael Watts, Charles Veverka, and Alex Marrero after a traffic stop was conducted. He had led the officers on a high-speed chase on his motorcycle, and was driving with a suspended license. The officers were acquitted of charges in McDuffie's death. One of the worst race riots in United States history broke out in the black neighborhoods of Overtown and Liberty City in Miami after the officers' acquittals. The federal government tried Veverka, one of the officers, on civil rights violations in 1980; he was acquitted. In 1981 Dade County paid McDuffie's family a settlement of $1.1 million after it filed a civil lawsuit against the officials.