Watch: Miami police sergeant punches parking machine in drunken rage

Sergeant also allegedly let friend drive unmarked car

MIAMI – Surveillance video from inside of a Brickell hotel showed the moment a Miami police sergeant caused more than $1,400 worth of damage to an automated parking machine in a drunken moment of rage while off-duty.

Another piece of video, from the same night in August 2021, shows Sgt. Thomas Murray, who has worked for the Miami Police department since 2005, allowing his friend to drive his unmarked police cruiser.

Murray faced possible criminal charges, but instead, got an 80-hour suspension after the police union stepped in. But the internal disciplinary case may not be over.

Internal Affairs documents say Murray had gone out with a friend that night. When they came back to pay for parking, Murray got frustrated with the machine and punched it, causing $1,432 worth of damage.

Then, moments later, cameras show his friend driving his unmarked department-issued police vehicle, because, as Murray admitted to investigators, he was in no condition to drive having had several drinks that night.

Surveillance video shows a Miami police officer vandalized a machine in Brickell.

The reports say investigators found enough evidence for Murray to be arrested and charged, but the police union stepped in.

“Initially, Sgt. Murray was relieved of duty and typically we’re the first call when a member is relieved of duty,” said Sgt. Tommy Reyes, who leads Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 20, which represents Miami police officers.

Reyes said the FOP’s vice president struck a deal with the hotel: If Murray paid for the damage out of his own pocket, management wouldn’t press charges.

He said Murray’s conduct that night was completely out of character.

“He had suffered some personal loss before this incident,” Reyes said. “Maybe he made a mistake, maybe made a bad decision.”

Reyes added: “It happens, you know, we make bad decisions as human beings, cops are human beings too. We go through rough patches in our Iives.”

The Miami Police Department released a statement to Local 10 News regarding the incident.

“All Miami Police Department employees are expected to meet performance standards in the workplace consistent with our Departmental Policies, and behave appropriately in their private lives,” it said. “The department takes all disciplinary matters seriously. If any officers’ behavior persists, corrective action will be taken in the form of progressive discipline.”

Murray’s internal disciplinary case may not be over. Next week, the Miami police Civilian Investigative Panel is set to review the details and could suggest further discipline or make other recommendations.

About the Authors:

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.

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.