Controversial Miami-Dade police union president Rivera voted out of office


MIAMI – The controversial president of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association has been voted out of office after decades in the position.

John Rivera, who had been the longtime president of the PBA, was defeated by Steadman Stahl in recent elections.

"The members have voted for change and I totally respect our system of democracy," said Rivera in an email to union members.

Rivera had been a lightning rod for controversy during his tenure, condemning those who opposed his officers in any capacity.

In June 2016, Rivera made national headlines after a North Miami police officer shot Charles Kinsey, an unarmed behavioral therapist who was helping an autistic patient. Rivera claimed the officer was trying to protect Kinsey because he believed the patient had a gun, and then only accidentally shot him.

Rivera called out the media by saying news stories about the incident were "sensationalism."

A North Miami police commander was fired after an investigation into the shooting.

Protesters showed up at PBA headquarters in June 2015 after Rivera claimed Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez was only going after votes by implementing police body cameras for those on-duty officers in areas with African-Americans.

"(Gimenez) is so desperate to gain favor in the African-American community, because they are the ones who are pushing for this," Rivera said on a talk show at the time.

Rivera said he was not opposed to the body cameras, just where they were being implemented.

More recently, Rivera believed fans attending Miami Dolphins home games at Hard Rock Stadium would be less than safe as police officers would refuse to work due to player protests during the national anthem.

With more than 63 percent of the vote, Steadman unseated Rivera with all ballots counted.

"I have steadfastly worked my tail off and made tough decisions when others ran away from them and I am proud of the legacy I leave behind," finished Rivera in his email.