FEBRUARY 10, 2016

For a number of local folks who spend a fair amount of time on social media, Javier Ortiz, the president of the City of Miami’s Police Department Fraternal Order of Police is a gift that keeps on giving.

I don’t think I need to go into a lot of detail in explaining Ortiz’s history as a police officer, but in case you’re new to this site, you can go HERE and read a half-dozen previous stories that I’ve written about him and his best pal Edward Lugo, and why I, and others think that his behavior justifies his being fired from the police department.

Over the last few years Ortiz has increased his use of social media, mostly Facebook and Twitter to “brand” himself as a plain spoken, take-no-prisoners union leader speaking up for this members, and the larger police community.

Some of his members have supported the stances he’s taken on controversial issues like the Trayvon Martin case, and the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and others have called him little more than a media whore looking to enhance his personal image through his use of incendiary comments.

Locally, Ortiz gained notoriety when he criticized Police Chief Manny Orosa for his comments in the Eric Gardner choking death in New York, attacked Assistant Police Chief Anita Najiy for being an anti-American muslim for not placing her hand over her heart, attacked a woman on Facebook who posted a video of police beating a prisoner in handcuffsargued that 12 year old Tamir Rice deserved to be shot, because if you “Act like a thug, you’ll be treated like one,” and of course the photoshopped mug shot he posted after police shot and killed Durrall Miller, who several days earlier had shot a cop in the foot while evading arrest.

After local filmmaker Billy Corben and others lodged protests with Facebook, the post was removed, only to reappear after Ortiz reposted it, as evidenced by Corben’s comments above.

In conjunction with the criticism of Ortiz continuing to use social media to engage in these attacks, folks started questioning why the City Of Miami refused to take any action against Ortiz, given that some of his comments and actions clearly reflected badly on both the Police Department and the City.

In response, the Police Department and then the Mayor issued statements that they were powerless to do anything to Ortiz for his statements and actions because he was protected by a federal law that all but makes it impossible to punish union officials who speak out or make controversial statements in their capacity as union officials.

That in turn has pissed some off people, who saw this as little more than an act of cowardice by the Mayor and the Police Department.

Unfortunately for those people, their knee-jerk reaction about the Mayor and the Police Department being cowards by refusing to stand up against Ortiz only underscores a deeper problem in our society about the failure of people to either understand what it means to live in a country that is governed by law, or to appreciate that perhaps there are reasons why such laws exists, even if you might disagree with them.

First, understand that while Ortiz is clearly exploiting this federal law by making sure that his comments and actions are made in his capacity as  FOP President, there is a law, and there’s a valid reason for the law.

Now, I’m sure that there are folks who on reading this will say, “Hey, fuck the law. If we know he’s exploiting the law, then why can’t the Mayor and the Police Department ignore the law and punish him.”

It’s that kind of simplistic attitude and reasoning that has created the current political climate we have today where people who are fed up with the obvious criminality and corruption of the political class that has, like an octopus, extended their tentacles across our land, and are all too willing to encourage that anyone ignore any law that they believe frustrates their supposed “rights” to have the government behave the way they want.

That’s the kind of thinking that led to those people in Oregon taking over the federal wildlife preserve, and that fuels so much of the anger of people who believe that their rights supersede the rights of anyone else, like some of the Republican candidates for president.

In the case of the federal law that Ortiz is using as a shield, there is more than ample reason for that law to exist.

What the law was intended to do, and what it actually does is protect union leaders negotiating on behalf of their members by providing them with the ability to be able to speak up and challenge statements and positions taken by management without the risk of being fired or punished.

Labor negotiations are struggles that have real and lasting financial and personal consequences for both sides, and the right and ability to negotiate would be undermined if one side - management - had the ability to up and fire a union representative at any time just because that representative said or did something they didn’t like.

Having said that, the fact remains that when it comes to Javier Ortiz, the real reason that he has not been fired from the police department is not because there is a federal law that protects him, but because Ortiz has long been in the pocket of Mayor Tomas Regalado, and because it suited Regalado to have Ortiz around as a useful sock puppet whenever needed.

When you’re the Mayor in a weak Mayor form of government you sometimes have to try and get your way by misdirection and subterfuge, and to do that you need proxies and sock puppets.

Ortiz has been one of those sock puppets.

There is ample evidence and documentation that Javier Ortiz has engaged in activities that warranted his being severely punished and/or fired, most especially his actions in the Ultra Music Festival beat down of a concert goer that resulted in a $400,000 settlement.

In that case Ortiz manufactured a Use of Force Incident Report based on lies, and then he, and the other officers involved all committed perjury when they gave sworn depositions.  The State Attorney’s Office refused to prosecute any of these individuals - another example of the Family and Friends Plan - and the Police Department refused to punish or fire Ortiz for his actions in this case. You can read all about it here.

Cops in Miami who aren’t on the Family and Friends Plan get punished and fired for a lot less what Javier Ortiz did in that case, and unless and until Tomas Regalado leaves office, Javier Ortiz will continue to act with the brazen arrogance of being nothing more than a thug in uniform.

It’s Miami, Bitches!