Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo OK NOT Javier Ortiz Reprimand UPDATED

Update published 10/12/2021 18:30: Following the publication of this story, Miami Police Department (MPD) emailed Captain Javier Ortiz New Times requests a correction.

“Your article, published today entitled ‘Javier’ Bill Schahwartzman, ‘Ortiz seeks whistleblower protection,’ is misleading and untrue,” Ortiz wrote. [Richard Diaz] never said I sent an anonymous email or used that alias. What he said was that I reported the corruption involving Major Keandra Simmons and Commander Nerly Papier. This was done in writing and handed over to the Chief of Police. ”

Reached on holiday in Spain, says Diaz he “made a mistake” in his previous conversation with New Times and that he had “confused the anonymous e-mail with Javier’s complaint. ”

Diaz clarifies that his client “absolutely not” is Bill Schahwartzman.

“Just to be clear and correct: Javier was not the person who wrote the anonymous complaint. He came up with a non-anonymous complaint pretty much at the same time as the anonymous complaint was sent,” says Diaz.

According to records from MPD Internal Affairs, investigators received an anonymous complaint about the Papier crash on April 4 and then received another, formal complaint on April 7.

New Times has requested a copy of the formal complaint.

This story and its headline have been updated to reflect Diaz’s clarification.
When Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo arrived in April, he declared that he would release the Miami Police Department (MPD) from bad officers.

But six months later, Acevedo has just been suspended as the first step towards dismissal, while the department’s most controversial officer, Captain Javier Ortiz, who has highlighted 58 citizens’ complaints of offenses ranging from abuse of power to aversion to the public, remains a member of the force. .

And here’s a possible reason for that.

On April 4, 2021, an encrypted email from a person using the alias “Bill Schahwartzman” landed in the inboxes of Acevedo, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, and a handful of local journalists. “Schahwartzman” claimed that then-MPD deputy chief Ronald Papier had covered a crash with his wife, Cmdr. Nerly Papier, who had been driving “under the influence of drugs” and crashed a police car into a curb “at about 40 miles per hour.”

Nineteen days later, Acevedo suspended the Papiers. In June, they were fired.

Acevedo’s firing of Papiers so early in his tenure shook the entire police force. Although it showed that the new boss was serious about cleaning up the department and firing problematic officers, some considered the high-profile shakeup as an unfounded advertising stunt.

So, at last month’s special hour-long Miami City Commission meeting that specifically called on Acevedo to apologize for an off-the-cuff quip about the department run by a “Cuban mafia,” Commissioner Joe Carollo accused Acevedo of covering up Javier Ortiz.

“Whose [Acevedo] would have told me he was talking about his main defender and accomplice, Javi Ortiz, I could believe it, “Carollo said at the Sept. 25 meeting. But the worst abuser of our citizens and residents of Miami and the state of Florida, it is his henchman whom he has protected and given carte blanche to. ”

Now lawyer Richard Diaz says New Times that although his client “absolutely not” is Bill Schahwartzman, he says Ortiz has lodged a formal complaint about Papiers with Acevedo and is seeking protection under Florida’s whistleblower statute, presumably to protect him from any unfavorable hiring measures.

“You can officially report that Javier Ortiz was the complainant,” Diaz said.

Carollo’s claim seemed unfounded when he uttered it from the wall. But a reprimand of April 23 written by that May. Keandra Simmons and obtained by New Times (attached below) states that in an incident on April 14, Ortiz stabbed the home of a vehicle owner who had fled from police without being sent, waited for the driver to arrive and then arrested him with a rifle. According to Simmons, Ortiz had been banned from “interpolating in patrol functions”, and she wrote to him to defy a direct order and to be late for his post (at the time he made the arrest, he was to be in the Navy).

But Ortiz’s reprimand was never approved and did not go into his case.

That’s because Acevedo did not sign it, according to Diaz and Michael Pizzi, Simmons’ lawyer.

Simmons was the MPD’s second highest ranked black female officer until Acevedo degraded her to lieutenant in August, when he eliminated four major positions. Pizzi explains that, like client Ortiz, his client seeks whistleblower protection as she goes on to sue Acevedo, Suarez, MPD and Mayor Art Noriega for “damages caused by defamation, racial and gender-based discrimination, harassment and deprivation of first change and due process [rights]. ”

Pizzi claims that Acevedo covered for Ortiz and that he forbade Simmons to discipline him and not green light prosecution.

“In the crooked world of Acevedo, Ortiz could not be disciplined for anything that deserved discipline and was justified,” says Pizzi. New Times. “But other people, including Keandra [Simmons], received false reprimands and demotions when it was not justified. ”

Back in April, Acevedo had just been sworn in, and Ortiz had just returned from a year-long suspension amid an FBI investigation into allegations that the captain had engaged in a pattern of abuses against minorities and regularly got away with it. Ortiz was assigned to the MPD’s naval division in March and was instructed not to get involved in patrol functions.

Simmons stated in his reprimand that Ortiz said he would not monitor his radio to make sure he was not involved where he was not supposed to.

“Ortiz was not satisfied with this directive,” Simmons wrote, “but he agreed not to get involved in other areas outside the Navy.”

Tells Diaz New Times that during the incident on April 14, his client was on duty to get coffee nearby when he heard officers over the radio talking about a fleeing vehicle and asked for the address attached to the license plate. He drew a gun because he thought it was a “high-risk” traffic stop, and he called other officers to help with the arrest.

“He strongly denies being told not to monitor his radio,” Diaz said. “It would be illegal because department orders requires each officer to monitor their radio. ”

Diaz says Ortiz believes the boss did not sign the reprimand because it may have been considered retaliation after Ortiz revealed information about Papiers.

The MPD’s public information office did not respond to an email requesting comment on Simmons’ suspended reprimand of Ortiz.

Reached via text, Acevedo declined to comment. “Unfortunately, I am precluded from discussing this issue at this time,” he said.

Back in July, however, Acevedo told New Times he had met with lawyers to see if there was any action he could take against Ortiz. At the time, he said his hands had been tied since the problems arose before he arrived in Miami.

“Sooner or later there will be something holding on and his career will stop screaming,” Acevedo warned, adding that Ortiz had been assigned a body-worn camera that would make it easier to quit him in the event of misconduct or abuse of power. .

Simmons’ reprimand attempts suggest that Ortiz actually messed with Acevedo’s watch.

And despite the boss’s prediction, Ortiz is still in power despite nearly two decades of alleged abuse, while Acevedo appears to be cleaning up from his desk.

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