DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - It was one of the worst nights in Delray Beach history in the past decade. A white, rookie police officer shot and killed 16-year-old Jerrod Miller outside a school dance.
Miller was driving without a license; police say he fled when questioned. The officer, Darren Cogoni, was never criminally charged, although he was fired by the city.
The tragedy triggered community protests.
Jeff Perlman was the mayor of Delray Beach at the time. "Jerrod Miller has been on my mind ever since that happened, it was a very impactful experience for me," says Perlman.
In the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin case, Perlman felt compelled to write about the lessons Delray learned. So he wrote an article published in USA Today. bitly link: http://usat.ly/Hpc7wG
"This is still an issue, racial profiling, the perception of young African-American males, what can we do to have conversations about it and learn?" says Perlman.
Delray Beach launched a race relations initiative to explore racial issues that kept the community apart for decades. He says it's a constant battle for unity.
"I'm not pretending we solved the problem, but we moved the needle a little bit," says Perlman.
He hopes the community of Sanford realizes the opportunity for change. He offered some advice for community leaders there.
"Try to keep a cool head and don't let anything spiral out of control. Find time to figure out a path forward," says Perlman.
A path where teens like Trayvon Martin and Jerrod Miller will never be forgotten.