86ºF

Miami police captain, city manager hot topics of city commission meeting

Capt. Javier Ortiz suspended over investigation involving separate agency, police chief says

MIAMI – There's been plenty of City Hall drama in Miami following the sudden resignation of the city manager.

Now, a Miami police captain has been suspended.

Local 10 News reporter Terrell Forney attended Thursday’s city commission meeting as both topics were discussed.

“I want to know what happened. Not just that he’s been suspended,” Commissioner Joe Carollo said about the issue regarding Miami police Capt. Javier Ortiz.

Ortiz came under fire after telling commissioners at a recent meeting that he identifies himself as a black male.

“I’m a black male. Yes, I am,” Ortiz said.

The head of the union representing Miami’s black officers claimed Ortiz first identified himself as a white Hispanic male in his hiring application, later noting himself as black in his lieutenant and captain exams to get a promotional advantage.

Forney learned at the meeting that although controversial, Ortiz was actually suspended with pay regarding an investigation involving another agency. The complaint could have a criminal or civil component, Forney said.

“What I can tell you is that it is not related, not related to the issue of how he identified on the exam. It has nothing to do with his behavior on that day, along with several other factors, commissioner, that I hope you understand I cannot elaborate on,” Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina said.

The police chief said he was disturbed by Ortiz’s comments at the recent meeting.

“He was treated like a hero, king. He could come up here and insult some of us in violation of rules and regulations and he would not be punished,” Carollo said.

Carollo also asked at Thursday’s meeting where City Manager Emilio Gonzalez has been.

Gonzalez recently resigned following accusations from Carollo that the city manager abused his power by doctoring documents to get a work permit on his home.

The Miami mayor’s office said the resignation was not effective immediately.

“He indicated to me he will be here Monday,” Mayor Francis Suarez said. “He also indicated to me he believes the date certain for his resignation should be Feb. 10.”

Carollo claimed the city charter calls for an appointment of an acting city manager, but the mayor said there’s no violation of charter and that he may or may not make an appointment due to an absence.

“If it makes you feel more comfortable, I can appoint the deputy manager,” Suarez said. “The city commission can ratify it until Monday and that’s one way to proceed.”


About the Authors: