Can You Use Someone’s Name? – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

(WSVN) – His name is engraved on the history of South Florida. Arthur McDuffie, killed by four police officers in what caused days of fatal unrest, and now his family is stunned to find out his name is being used to start a business and open a center. Can someone use your family member’s name? It’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser tonight.

If you hear her last name if you’re from South Florida, you will likely recognize him.

Dewana McDuffie, the father’s name is used: “All the time they ask, ‘Who are you?’ “Do you know him?” And I just say politely: “Yes, I was his daughter.”

She is Dewana McDuffie. Her father is Arthur Lee McDuffie.

Dewana McDuffie: “He was brutally beaten to death.”

In 1980, four Miami police officers were tried on charges of beating Arthur McDuffie to death.

All four were found not guilty.

Outraged residents exploded, riots tore Miami apart, and 18 people were killed when parts of the city were set on fire.

McDuffie left behind his wife and three children.

Dewana McDuffie: “Eighteen months, yes, I was extremely young.”

McDuffie is gone, but what happened to him and Miami has never been forgotten.

Then, this year, Dewana read a press release.

Dewana McDuffie: “A Barry University press release that the Arthur Lee McDuffie Center for Racial Justice would be temporarily on campus.”

The creation of the center in her father’s name baffled Dewana and her family.

Dewana McDuffie: “Disrespectful, discouraging, the family is very upset.”

Annoyed, says Dewana, because she had no idea her father’s name was used to create the center.

Dewana McDuffie: “Nobody has contacted anyone in our family. None of Arthur Lee McDuffie’s children have been contacted. “

To make the family even more difficult, the same group created a website and a company called the Arthur Lee McDuffie Center for Racial Justice.

Dewana McDuffie: “You own a business on my father’s behalf, yes.”

The center and the company were founded by Dr. Marvin Dunn, a respected civil rights attorney. But…

Dewana McDuffie: “Never spoke to Marvin Dunn, never.”

Dewana says if the family had been asked they might have given permission to use their father’s name, but now no.

Dewana McDuffie: “I would like to see my father’s name removed from this center.”

Now Howard, can someone start a center and a business on behalf of a family member?

Howard Finkelstein, legal expert at 7News: “This can really surprise you. Your name or your heirs will own your name and it cannot be used for commercial purposes without family consent, but here’s the surprise. Florida has what is known as a dormant law, which means that 40 years after death, the name can be used without family consent. Arthur McDuffie died 42 years ago, so anyone can use his name now. “

I have talked to Dr. Marvin Dunn spoken. Calling Arthur McDuffie a historical figure in Miami, he said it never crossed his mind that the family would worry that the center was in his name.

After speaking to Dewana, he did what the family wanted and the McDuffie name was removed.

It’s now called the Miami Center for Racial Justice.

Dunn also said the changes were made to the company name as well.

Dewana McDuffie: “I’m more than happy. I want families to know that Help Me Howard can help resolve any situation they need to fix. “

And Dewana now wants to make sure that no one uses Arthur McDuffie’s name again without the family’s permission.

Dewana McDuffie: “I want to use my father’s name as a brand. So if someone wants to use their name, they must first get permission from my siblings and I. “

That might work and think about how Arthur McDuffie’s kids are feeling. Imagine waking up to find someone registering a business or starting a business or nonprofit on your mother or father’s behalf.

It must be annoying and thank god this problem was quickly resolved.

What is a problem? Register it with us. We will be like family and use our skills to solve it.

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Reporter: Patrick Fraser at [email protected]
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