Political decisions have consequences. Often times however, by the time those consequences occur the politicians who made the decisions are long gone.

Take for instance the political decisions that were made at the time of the Mariel Boat-lift of 1980. The arrival of 100,000-150,000 Cubans prompted a number of political decisions whose consequences shaped the Miami that exists today.  In addition to the massive influx of all of these Cubans into what was then a small southern city with a population of approximately 350,000, 1980 was also the year of the McDuffie riots, prompted by the acquittal of Miami-Dade police officers who had been accused of beating Arthur McDuffie to death after a motorcycle chase.

Between the riots, the arrival of the Mariel Cubans and Miami’s elevation as a central player in the Cocaine smuggling and money laundering business, the Miami Police Department was understaffed and overwhelmed.

In response, the Miami City Commission authorized a massive effort to hire more cops, and especially to hire “minority” cops.

Several years later, a number of those new hires represented the core of what became known as the Miami River Cops scandal.  In the years from 1985 to 2000, Miami New Times reported that about 100 officers were arrested, fired, suspended or reprimanded, and at least 20 went to prison for robbing cocaine dealers.

But before then, the New York Times in a 1986 story about the efforts of Miami to hire minority police officers had said this about the effort:

Sound familiar?

Instead of City Hall, insert Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, and instead of civic groups, insert Fernand Amandi and some of the residents of Coconut Grove, and 28 years after the above story was written nothing much has changed.

Now, Sarnoff has made some reasonable arguments on the need for more police - which I have publicly agreed with - but at the same time that he argues for more police, he has been manipulating this issue so as to position himself as strong on crime when it comes time to run for his next office - which according to a plan that I was told about a while back - has him running for the District 7 County Commission seat while Xavier Suarez, who holds the seat now, runs for Mayor of Miami-Dade County. That’s why Sarnoff has been spending city taxpayer money to learn how to speak Spanish.

It could be argued that a little political pandering on behalf of a good cause is not as bad as a little political pandering on behalf of a bad cause, but when it comes to the Miami Police Department and the almost 30 year history of crooked cops, murderous cops, dangerous cops and just downright stupid cops, the fact that what is happening today is actually no different - and in fact it’s actually worse because there is a 30 year history from which to learn from - than the actions that led to the hiring of so many dangerous and cooked cops in the early 1980’s.

Sarnoff’s campaign to have more police hired has been going on for a couple years now, and last July, a copy of a letter sent to the US Justice Department by an anonymous member of the Miami Police Department surfaced that detailed several examples of the poor training that new recruits were receiving. It was an alarming letter that should have led to changes, but which, according to sources inside the police department actually resulted in few significant changes, which is why today many veterans on the force will admit privately that some of the rookie cops on the street scare them worse than the bad guys.

Last week I received a packet of documents that indicate that in addition to the poor training and supervision of recruits, the department has gone out of their way to hire the sons and daughters of those on the Family and Friends program, continuing a long and unsavory history that results in unqualified individuals continuing to wear a badge and carry a gun in the City of Miami.


If you’re even a casual reader of this blog you’ve probably seen the photo below. That’s Major Raul Herbello standing at attention waiting for lobbyist Armando “The Whopper” Gutierrez to get out of a City SUV.

Herbello, along with now retired Assistant Chief Ricardo Roque and a handful of other Miami cops were identified as hanging out at Cuban Crafters, a cigar emporium on NW 7th Street, that was at the center of allegations of wrong doing during the September 2011 hearing to fire Chief Miguel Exposito before the City Commission.

At 2:01 of the below video from that hearing, now retired Major Al Alvarez, then head of Internal Affairs, describes several buys of kilos of cocaine from a Cuban Crafter’s employee and then went on to describe an investigation that centered on Kiki Berger, one of the co-owners of Cuban Crafters, and in the process describes a cop who used to park his police SUV at Cuban Crafters, then drive around town in the owner’s Bentley, even going so far as to drive the Bentley to police headquarters and parking it in his parking spot.

That officer was none other than the same Raul Herbello pictured above.

Jovanny Herbello is one of Herbello’s two sons that are today members of the Miami Police Department. He was hired even though he FAILED 4 LIE DETECTOR TESTS, had been charged with drug possession as well as a simple battery charge that he claimed to have no knowledge about.

You can see that although the initial investigator recommended that young Herbello not be hired, he was overruled by Assistant Chief Raul Llanes, one of the clique that makes up the Command Staff of the Miami Police Department under Chief Manny Orosa, that includes Herbello Senior. Within days, not only was young Herbello approved for hire, but his hire became a priority.

The courtesy of hiring the unqualified children of Miami Police brass extends down the ladder to the lesser ranks as well.


Aileen Rodriquez, the daughter of a retired Miami police officer didn’t fare well in her psychological evaluation to become an officer either.

But, it turned out that the psychological profile was the least of her problems; and she had several problems, including a problem handling rejection when a former boyfriend didn’t want to have anything more to do with her, as described below.

This evaluation resulted in a termination hearing being held based on the above information.

Instead of being terminated, on September 5, 2013, a new investigator, Officer Aquiles Carmona, whose name appears on the evaluation of several other questionable hires, approved the hiring of Aileen Rodriquez.

All of the negative information included in the Burmaster evaluation above, miraculously disappeared, and in it’s place was the following glowing evaluation.


No derogatory information indeed. In the Banana Republic of Regaladoland, information of wrong doing and questionable behavior disappears faster than a bag of hundred dollar bills left on a City Commissioner’s desk when there is a need to sanitize someone’s personnel file.


Just a couple months ago, Jorge Castro, the son of Lt. Jorge Castro was hired by the Miami Police Department. Like the Rodriquez evaluation above, Castro’s evaluation was done by Officer Aquiles Carmona.

Young Castro lived at home, and I’m sure that Daddy probably figured that if he could the kid a real job instead of being a part-time valet and/or stock clerk at Victoria Secret, he might make enough money to move out.

Unfortunately, young Jorge’s psychological profile didn’t exactly reveal the characteristics you’d expect for a policeman.

Even worse, young Castro had a problem telling the truth, evidenced in one test by his efforts to game the lie detector, a trick he obviously got from the internet. (Method 4, Number 4 & 5)

Why was young Jorge eager to try and game the lie detector? It turned out that he had a juvenile record that tagged him as a “SERIOUS OR HABITUAL JUVENILE OFFENDER.”

When he’d been asked in a pre-exam questionnaire whether he’d ever been arrested, detained or questioned by law enforcement, his answer had been “NO.”

Young Castro seems to be just another Millennial fuck-up and slacker who committed petty crimes involving walking out of stores with stuff he claimed he forgot to pay for and hanging around with guys he shouldn’t.

Back in the day, parents of kids like this used to encourage them to join the Army or Marines to toughen them up and help them get their act together. Unfortunately 10 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan have discouraged parents from sending their kids off to the Army, for fear they might not return.

So instead of joining the Army, young Jorge, thanks to the Family and Friends Plan, joined the Miami Police Department, where he now has a badge and gun, and unfortunately for him, not a whole lot of adult supervision to protect him from himself, or the citizens from him should he continue to be a follower and a fuck-up.


The blame for how the above 3 individuals, along with a disturbing number of others just like them have managed to become Miami police officers can be traced back to the decision of the Miami City Commission in the 80’s that allowed so many unqualified, and in many instances, openly criminal applicants to become police officers.

While most of the worst cops who were hired back in the 80’s were weeded out, largely by being arrested or fired, there is no question that some of the smarter ones remained, and like any parasite, they aided and abetted other criminals and crooked cops over the years to become members of the force.

Then, as now, one of the major concerns was how so many unqualified individuals managed to get through a screening process that should have been able to protect the force and the community from the hiring of so many bad cops.

All of the individuals mentioned above, as well as all the other police officers who’ve been hired as a result of the current shortage of officers have been hired through a process that under the Regalado administration has circumvented the process that used to involve the participation of the City’s Human Resources Department far more than what is going on now.

Today, the City’s Human Resources Department only conducts the initial screening to determine whether they meet the minimum qualifications, and those that do are placed on an eligibility register that is given to the police department who conducts the rest of the process in-house.

That is how a supposed “investigator” like Aquiles Carmona is allowed to conduct such sloppy and obviously biased investigations without being challenged. From his record, he’s the go-to guy when a fix is needed to get a questionable candidate through the process.


Political interference has long played a major part in the corruption of the Miami Police Department. Every Mayor and every City Commissioner  has used their position to influence hiring and policy decisions, although few have been as blatant about it as Mayor Tomas Regalado and the current City Commission.

Shortly after he was elected, Regalado instigated his first hand picked Chief to conduct a “Corruption Crackdown” that in short order blew up in their faces when it became apparent that the “crackdown” was one part crack, and three parts baking soda that even prompted Miami-Dade County’s corrupt State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle to cry foul.

When Exposito and Regalado fell out over the illegal maquinitas that Regalado tried to legitimize through an Ordinance and licensing scheme, and that eventually led to Exposito being fired, he made sure that Exposito’s replacement would be both Cuban and in his pocket.

After a fake search for “the best qualified candidate,” Regalado instructed then City Manager Johnny “The Doormat” Martinez to appoint Manny Orosa, whose history as a participant in the Leonardo Mercardo murder case resulted in his testifying against the members of his Undercover Drug Squad under an “informal use immunity” in order to evade being prosecuted with them, will forever be a defining part of his record.

Orosa has been a weak leader, who has demonstrated on several occasions his willingness to do whatever the Mayor asked him to do, including providing on-duty police to multi-millionaire art dealer Gary Nadar, (PART I, PART II).

When asked under oath to explain how I was consistently able to get information on the operation of his department he responded by calling his officers “snitches,” illustrating why so many officers in his department hold him in such contempt that they refer to him as “No Balls Orosa (NBO)”.

In the well publicized incident that involved Miami City Commissioner Frank Carollo calling the Chief on his cellphone after he was stopped for a legitimate traffic violation, the Chief also revealed under oath his willingness to bypass the City Charter and the City Manager to deal with the Mayor and Commissioners directly as a way to circumvent and undermine the Charter and oversight by the City Manager.

Here is the portion of the deposition where Orosa, under questioning by Commissioner Carollo’s attorney Ben Kuehne gets him to admit to circumventing the City Charter.

Today the Miami Police Department is run by a senior staff that would be hard pressed in many instances to qualify as regular police officers, much less as Assistant Chiefs and Majors in any other police department, and  includes Assistant Chief of Police Jorge Gomez who I caught lying to the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission about a traffic ticker received by Chief of Communication and Protocol and Executive Director of the Mayor’s International Council, Angel “The Idiot Of The City” Zayon, Major “Lexus” Jackson, who earned the sobriquet “Lexus” for the stolen car he purchased and then tried to deny owning, and of course Major Raul Herbello, whose claim to fame will always be that White Bentley that he drove around town for almost a year.

But head and shoulders above everyone else when it comes to being a problem, is Deputy Chief of Police Luis Cabrera.

Cabrera was allowed to return as the Deputy Chief of Police 82 days ago - see the Countdown Clock at the bottom of the Front Page - because he was given a new prescription for stronger psychotropic medication to deal with his bizarre and sometimes emotional mood swings. 

How strong is this medication?  The first time I encountered Cabrera after he started taking this medication, he wanted to shake my hand and open a door for me. You have to understand that this is the same Luis Cabrera who once barred me from City Hal and whenever he saw me, used to start getting physically agitated and mumbling under his breath, calling me an asshole and other endearing epithets over the stories that I’ve written about him.

Now, on a personal level I’m happy that Cabrera has finally gotten some much need help, but the notion that the Number Two in Command at the Miami Police Department is only able to function at a somewhat normal level with the aide of strong, psychotropic drugs, and that if he quits taking this medication, or if its effectiveness starts to wear off he could regress to his former batshit crazy behavior is something that should concern everyone in the City, especially since one of the reasons he’s working so hard to be on his best behavior is that when Orosa retires in the next couple months Cabrera desperately wants Tomas Regalado to make him the next Chief of Police.

So, from top to bottom, the Miami Police Department is not only dysfunctional and lacking the kind of professional leadership one would expect from a big city police department, but as the Budget Hearings scheduled for this Thursday will reveal, Chief Orosa, after multiple promises has failed to hire the 100 new - not replacement, or transfer from desk duty to the streets - officers that he promised would be on the streets this month.

Given the above examples of the kind of cops that they have been recently hired makes you wonder if, all things considered, that might not be a good thing.

It’s Miami. Bitches!


KUEHNE: In the City of Miami, there is a Commission

    form of government…

    OROSA: Yes

    KUEHNE: Have you made it clear to the

    Commissioners and the Manager that the    

    Commissioners should contact you directly,

    and not deal with the subordinate officers in the


    OROSA:  Well, you, if they deal with subordinates you        

    want to know as a matter of courtesy what’s going

    on...what, what the subordinate is doing…try to

    resolve whatever issue that might come up.  I’d prefer

    that just calling me, taking subordinates out of the

    loop, and I’ll have the subordinates do whatever I

    think is appropriate.

    KUEHNE:  So it’s consistent with your practice that

    Commissioners should be dealing directly with you

    on matters that interest them.

    OROSA: Correct.”