MIAMI – Miami Fraternal Order of Police president Javier Ortiz called for the removal of city manager Danny Alfonso Thursday for Alfonso's decision to fire three rookie officers who allegedly joked in a group chat about using the city's primarily black neighborhoods for target practice.
"The FOP doesn't agree with the joking texts made about Northwest First Avenue and 11th Street," Ortiz posted on Facebook shortly after the officers were fired. "However, maybe the manager should be focusing on why that specific area is spoken about so often."
According to investigation documents, one officer asked in the group text, "Anyone know of an indoor shooting range in Miami?" Another officer replied, "Go to Model City. They have moving targets," and another wrote, "There's a range in Overtown on 1 and 11. Moving targets and they don't charge."
The officers told an investigator that they were only joking, and their attorney, Stephen Lopez, said the remarks were taken out of context.
"It was in bad taste and it was an off-color remark," he said.
Ortiz maintains that the district is "out of control" when it comes to shootings in Miami.
"But the manager (would) rather focus on text messages than the senseless killings and violent crime in the Overtown/Model City areas," Ortiz said.
Three pastors and a former police trainer who attended Thursday's Miami commission meeting said they support Alfonso and the police chief's decision to fire the officers.