Miami police officer relieved of duty, under investigation for hand gesture he made while posing for photo

A City of Miami Police officer is under investigation because of what he was doing in a photo taken while on duty.

MIAMI – A City of Miami Police officer is under investigation because of what he was doing in a photo taken while on duty.

The picture in question was taken Friday after Miami police made a big gun bust, but now top department brass are taking a closer look.

A commander posted the photo on Twitter, and someone noticed the officer at the far end of the picture flashing hand signals that some consider a ‘white power’ message.

That man is Miami Police Officer Daniel Ubeda. The tweet was deleted less than 48 hours after it was posted. The commander who posted it also made his account private.

“This was meant to be private between him and his six guys,” said President of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police Tommy Reyes, holding up his fingers. “It was not supposed to be posted on Twitter.”

Reyes told Local 10 News the finger gesture meant “six” as in the number of colleagues on the officer’s shift, not white power.

Miami Police Officer Daniel Ubeda has been relieved of duty and is under investigation for the hand gestures he is making in this photo. (@commandermitch1)

Before speaking with Local 10, Reyes said he talked to Officer Ubeda. He said they discussed different hand signals and that he believed the one seen in the photo is different than one associated with white supremacy.

Reyes also said that both Ubeda’s supervisor and the commander who tweeted the photo are Black, and that they never raised any issues.

What some in the department saw, however, was, according to the Anti-Defamation League, the innocent ‘ok’ gesture that was coopted four years ago by racists as ‘WP’ for ‘white power.’

The same gesture has been spotted being flashed at a Florida rally for Donald Trump, at a Miami Marlins game by a fan that has since been banned, and at the confirmation hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh by his former aide, who is Jewish and Mexican, and called the backlash about her resting hand “repulsive.”

But back to Officer Ubeda, who is the same Miami officer who went to vote last fall while wearing a Trump face covering. He was eventually reprimanded for political messaging while in uniform.

This time, Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo said Ubeda was, “…relieved of duty (Sunday) and an internal affairs investigation is ongoing.”

About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.