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CRESPOGRAM REPORT

APRIL 30, 2013

MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL, IS THIS THE DUMBEST POLICE CHIEF 
OF THEM ALL
PART II
A GENTLEMEN’S AGREEMENT

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        “It seems the City of Miami Police Department has

        a culture of corruption that exceeds all other police

        departments.”

                                                Robert Scola,

                                                US District Judge

                                                April 23, 2013


In any other major American city such a comment from a federal judge during the sentencing of the first of a number of police officers involved in protecting a gambling operation would have created anguish, alarm, and a strongly worded editorial in the following morning’s newspaper.


Not in Miami.


In what has to be viewed as a tacit acceptance of the judge’s claim has been the Chief’s refusal to speak up in defense of his department, even internally to his officers.  It was left to a former Chief, long retired, to write a letter to the editor in defense of the honest cops in the department.


Having a corrupt police department is viewed as just another of those benchmarks labels like the “Road Rage Capital of America” or “Worst City To Raise Your Kids In America,” or Most Miserable City in America,” or “Poorest City in America,” that many folks have come to accept as the defining attributes of what it means to live in Miami.


Blatant corruption within a police department is often evidence of deeper and more systematic corruption at all levels of government, and the administration of Tomas Regalado has certainly done it’s best to turn the City of Miami into a corrupt Banana Republic where everything in the city, from property to services is either for sale, or available for use or abuse by family and friends.


Giving away police protection is not a new thing in Miami.  During his first term as Mayor, Tomas Regalado forced the police department to give away $85,360.70 worth of police services to the local Univision radio station for security for the Three Kings Parade, and another $10,890.00 in security for Gloria Estefan’s protest rally in support of the Women In White. (See May 18th story: The Mayor Whined.)


The Mayor’s actions so angered the 5 Dwarfs on the Miami City Commission that when they realized they were being left out of the deal, instead out outlawing this expenditure of public money and making promoters pay for off-duty police, they legitimized the practice so that now all of the big parades and events in their Districts also get free police protection.


That’s how abuse of power and misuse of public money gets handled by the 5 Dwarfs on the Miami City Commission.


It’s against this backdrop of chicanery and misuse, if not outright illegal use of public services that led to the decision by Miami Police Chief Manny Orosa’s to approve using on-duty police to protect Gary Nader’s Art Gallery against a potential attack by the Pink Panther.


Now, I must state that contrary to the Chief’s claims, I do not believe that he would have done this on his own. The real decision to provide this taxpayer funded protection falls squarely on the shoulders of the Mayor. Orosa was just the henchman carrying out the orders.


GETTING IN A PUNCHING MATCH WITH A MARSHMALLOW


The controversy over on-duty police being used to provide protection at Gary Nader’s Art Gallery started after I began getting calls from cops complaining about what was happening, which in turn led to my raising the issue on January 15th at the press conference where Francis Suarez’s announced that he was running for Mayor.


In response to my question of what he was going to do about this situation, Suarez promised to follow up and at the January 24th Commission meeting called on the Chief to explain why on-duty police were guarding this art gallery.


Basically the Chief’s answer what that he was doing this because he could.


On January 29th, the Miami Herald did a story that included the revealing quote from Gary Nader, that the on-duty police were being provided as part of a “gentlemen’s agreement,” between the mayor, the chief and himself. That quote, and several other questionable statements prompted most of the local TV stations to cover the story the following day.


None of the news coverage made any difference. I continued to get calls from cops complaining about this misuse of limited police resources in the Wynwood District where one kid had been shot and paralyzed, and another kid had been killed during the time that these cops had been guarding the parking lot.


On February 10th I sent Francis Suarez an email.

His response was not encouraging.

The Commissioner’s contemplation led to his calling me a few days later to tell me that he had set up a meeting with the Chief to discuss the provisions in an Ordinance that he felt restricted the Chief’s ability to provide Nader with on-duty police.


The Ordinance was Section 42.8, and dealt with providing Off-Duty police services.


On February 20th, I wrote to ask how the meeting had gone.

The next day, after another exchange of emails I sent the Commissioner this email.

The Commissioner and I didn’t speak again until April 8th, when over an unrelated subject I once again raised the issue of his failure to aggressively pursue the Nader issue.


He claimed that he had requested several meetings with City Attorney Bru and the Chief to seek her opinion on whether  the Chief was allowed to do what he was doing - he had told me in February that Bru had previously told him that she thought he was right to object - the Commissioner stated that he had tried to have a meeting, but that it was cancelled.


When I broached this with the Chief on the morning that the maquinita machines were destroyed, the Chief agreed, and laughing said that the meetings had in fact been cancelled, by Suarez.


Finally, almost 3 months after he had first raised the issue at the City Commission meeting, and 2 months after he claimed he was going to ask the City Attorney for an opinion, and after the exhibition was over and shipped back to Portugal, a legal opinion written by George Wysong, the Assistant City Attorney assigned to the Miami Police Department was issued.


The next day, April 23rd, Melissa Sanchez of El Nuevo Herald did a story that centered on the legal opinion, and raised some additional questions about the Chief’s actions.


Here is the legal opinion along with a memo from City Manager Johnny “The Doormat” Martinez to the City Commission belatedly supporting the Chief’s actions, a memo from the Chief to Martinez justifying his actions and a letter from Gary Nader to the Chief thanking him for making it all possible.

A CRESPO-GRAM EXCLUSIVE
COPYRIGHT 2013(C)
NO PORTION OF THIS STORY CAN BE REPRINTED AND CITED BY OTHER NEWS ORGANIZATIONS ONLY WITH ATTRIBUTION TO 
THE CRESPO-GRAM REPORT

Legal actions and opinions that come out of the office of the Miami City Attorney often have about as much value as a roll of used toilet paper.


In the last year or so we’ve seen the City Attorney be part of the effort to bribe former Police Chief Miguel Exposito to retire, by authorizing the issuance of a $200,000 check from the city account that she exclusively controlled for the payment of settlements.


We’ve seen her squirm every which way in refusing to take the side of the citizens against Scott Wessel and the $3.192 million that he’s refused to pay in property taxes on the Grove Key Marina/Scotty’s Landing property over the last 20 or so years.


We watched her at a City Commission meeting issue an opinion that Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones could run for another term, which was then denied by a Circuit Court judge, and is now on the way to the 3rd District Court of Appeals where insiders figure the odds are better than 50/50 that the Circuit Court’s opinion will be upheld.


In short, opinions issued by the City Attorney’s office are not predicated on what is necessarily legal, or even right, but on what justification can be given to what the Mayor, the Commission, or in this case, the Police Chief want to do at any given time.


These “opinions” are political documents couched in legal jargon by employees beholden for their jobs to the very people whose actions they are ordered to write about.


When an Assistant City Attorney whose job it is to defend the police department is ordered to write a legal opinion about a controversial issue involving the Chief of Police, you could sooner expect him to write an opinion that Paris Hilton is a virgin than an opinion that the Chief did wrong.


You know its a bullshit opinion when the constitution in invoked:


        “No constitutional provision or enactment exists

        which prohibits a city from authorizing police

        officers to provide police services to a private

        art gallery such as in this case.  The City of

        Miami Code delegates all of the affairs of the

        police department to the Chief of Police.  Thus,

        the only question is whether such protection

        constitutes a municipal purpose.”


Sentence number one is a straw man argument.  The issue of whether to provide on-duty cops to a private business is not a constitutional question. To imply that this is a question that would be addressed by the state constitution is grossly  misleading because the real issue in this instance was never about providing police protection, but rather about who pays for the police protection.


Sentence number two fails to include the provision in Section 42-3 of the City Code which states: “Subject to the supervision and control of the city manager in all matters...”


Sentence number three is another straw man argument. If providing police protection was predicated solely on whether the businesses involved provided a “municipal purpose,” then the taxpayers would be paying for cops to park in front of hundreds, if not thousands of private businesses all over the city that provide a “municipal service.”


Just as a for instance, which is more important to a city, a grocery store, or an art gallery?  Both provide for free access, and both sell products. Both provide a “municipal purpose.”  Which one would you think deserves free police protection? 


I’m sure Publix would like to quit paying for off-duty police, and have the city start providing free cops.


There are all kinds of business who provide a “municipal service,” yet are required to hire off-duty police for security.  The city recognizes that need, and to provide that service, created an Ordinance that spells out the process for the hiring of off-duty police. It’s called Section 42-8. - Special off-duty police services.


That’s what should have happened in this case,


THE FALSE EQUIVALENCY ARGUMENT


In trying to justify his action, Chief Orosa has repeatedly argued that if he were to be denied the right to provide on-duty cops to guard Gary Nader’s Art Gallery, then this would in turn tie his hands in providing extra police for events such as the Miami Heat playoffs or the recent Mercedes Corporate Run without receiving City Commission approval.


This is a bogus argument. Assigning extra police to provide protection for thousands, if not tens of thousands of citizens congregating in venues that might attract a madman to do something stupid falls under under the police department’s  requirement of providing “public safety,” which supersedes “municipal purpose.” as a benchmark for decisions made by a police chief regarding the use of police officers.


Again, this demonstrates the kind of self-serving nonsense that the Chief continues to engage in in an effort to evade responsibility for his actions.


THIS CHIEF OF POLICE IS A MORON


Perhaps the most revealing part of this story has been that no one in the Miami Police Department seems to pay any mind to what Chief Manny Orosa says.


In the April 23rd El Nuevo Herald story, Orosa denied providing the Nader’s gallery with 24/7 protection.  Here is that portion of the story:


        “But Orosa said that what Nader “asked for and

        what I provided were different things.”  The police

        chief said one beat officer was asked to watch the

        gallery during his shifts, and that other Wynwood

        cops were told to pay special attention to the

        location during their down time.  However, during

        the dozen or so occasions that El Nuevo Herald

        reporters stopped by the gallery in recent months,

        there was always at least one occupied patrol car

        in the lot.


        That was not my intention,” said Orosa, who said

        he thought some officers might have misunderstood

        his directive.


        He added that on at least four occasions, the

        department had had to pay overtime for officers

        to patrol Wynwood because one of the officers

        assigned to the area mistakenly thought he needed    

        to sit in Nader’s parking lot.”


Imagine that!  Misunderstood his directive!


Can it really be that for 5 months nobody paid attention to the Chief of Police’s instruction, including “at least four occasions,” when the department had to pay overtime, because of this failure to follow orders?


How come during those 5 months when all of these failures to follow orders was taking place neither the Chief nor any of his senior staff had the good sense or presence of mind to figure out that his officers weren’t doing what he supposedly had ordered them to do?


When the Chief of Police is so fucking stupid as to claim that it was never “his intention” for his officers to run up a tab of well over $100,000 in taxpayer money to provide protection for a multi-millionaire art dealer because those officers “misunderstood his directive,” then the Chief is either a liar, or far worse, he doesn’t have control over his department.


This incident goes a long way towards explaining why a federal judge opined that “the City of Miami Police Department has a culture of corruption that exceeds all other police departments.”


But then, the real fault lies not with the Chief, but with the Mayor who appointed him.


It’s Miami, Bitches!