Why do Miami-Dade police on the wrong side of the law get to choose if mug shot is made public?

MIAMI, Fla. – It’s a story about a love triangle, which includes two Miami-Dade police officers vying for the affections of one woman.

One of the cops was arrested. Local 10 News would ordinarily report on a domestic violence incident such as the aforementioned, and we’d show you the suspect’s booking photo.

But Miami-Dade Police Officer Lewis Diaz, who made his first court appearance Thursday, and who is charged with battery, witness tampering and false imprisonment, decided he didn’t want his photo released to the public.

In Miami-Dade County, that is the break given to police while ordinary citizens don’t have a choice. Miami-Dade Corrections refuses to release the mug shots of cops under arrest.

“The law that allows for photographs of police officers to be withheld is for a very specific purpose, for their security and the protection of undercover officers,” Local 10 News Attorney Karen Kammer explained.

But Miami-Dade Corrections said an attorney general’s opinion allows an officer under arrest to decide if his booking photo will be made public.

Local 10 News spoke with Miami-Dade Corrections Director Daniel Junior and we pointed out that other jurisdictions, such as Broward County, do make public mug shots of everyone they arrest, including police officers. Local 10 runs the mug shots when warranted because we believe the public has a right to see law enforcement officers who are accused of breaking the law.

“The Florida Supreme Court long ago rejected that idea that the subject of a public record can say ‘I don’t want anyone else to see it,’ " Kammer explained.

Junior told Local 10 that: “I understand it looks like we’re giving cops better treatment, but we’re just following state law as interpreted by the county attorney.”

Junior also said they are going to ask the Miami-Dade County attorney to take another look at releasing police mug shots.

We at Local 10 believe they should be released and the public should have a right to see them.

No exceptions.

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