Miami Police Learn about Santeria

April 16, 2003

Source: The Miami Herald

On April 16, 2003 The Miami Herald reported that "when Miami-Dade County police were called to a home in South Miami-Dade, they found people slicing up chunks of goat meat and plucking feathers from chickens. Blood spattered the feet of some of those in the house... 'You're killers! You're all going to jail!' one officer yelled as the elderly residents began to panic... The commotion and threats didn't end until a call was made to a local anthropologist and a police detective who explained to the officers on the scene that what they had encountered was a routine and legal Santer�a ritual... Hoping to promote greater sophistication among South Florida law enforcement agencies, anthropologist Rafael Martinez and Nelson Reyes, a North Miami Beach police detective, led a weeklong course on ritualistic religions at Miami police headquarters last month... Officers from around the county learned about Santer�a, Palo Mayombe and Haitian vodou, religions with roots in Africa fused with Christian traditions. The influx of exiles and other immigrants has brought tens of thousands of practitioners in these religions to South Florida."