Miami Police Department fires 18-year veteran Capt. Javier Ortiz

A controversial member of the City of Miami Police Department has been fired.

MIAMI – A controversial member of the City of Miami Police Department has been fired.

Miami Police Capt. Javier Ortiz was an 18-year veteran of the force.

The department confirmed Ortiz was terminated on Tuesday.

Ortiz’s termination letter, which can be viewed at the bottom of this story, accuses him of improperly approving overtime for officers under his command.

A panel initially recommended he be fired over the issue but another board later exonerated him.

Miami Police Chief Manuel Morales says he had the final say Tuesday.

“It was part of the totality of the evidence that I looked at,” Morales said. “He lacks good moral character.”

In October of last year Ortiz was suspended with pay pending an internal affairs investigation, and in 2020 he was suspended for saying during a city commission meeting that he was a Black male despite his Hispanic origin.

Rodney Jacobs is interim executive director of the Miami Civilian Investigative Panel.

“He’s been relieved of duties multiple times,” Jacobs said of Ortiz. “I think at least as it relates to the community, it’s almost a sigh of relief that something has finally been done.”

Griska Mena is Ortiz’s attorney.

She said the veteran cop’s firing is shocking and unwarranted.

“Those investigations and those allegations were not sustained,” said Mena. “As to the allegations here, he was following a directive from the chief of police at that time.”

Local 10 News’ Christian De La Rosa asked Mena what she believes the motive behind the firing was, if there was, as she says, no evidence against Ortiz.

“There are political motivations,” she replied, while stressing that Ortiz will appeal the termination.

Morales released a statement with the initial announcement, which read, in part:

“Any member of the Miami Police Department who does not carry out the department’s mission is unworthy of serving the residents and stakeholders they vowed to uphold as a sworn member of the police department.”

Ortiz and his attorneys also released a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

Their full statement read:

“Today’s decision made by Chief Morales shows complete disregard for the decision and opinions of the five staff members who voted to exonerate my client based on evidence. These staff members recommended the discipline he rescinded. It shocks the conscious that 5 staff members exonerated him and recommended the discipline to be rescinded, but today he gets fired.

“The Chief’s decision and his explanation can only be attributed to political pressures and refusing to acknowledge that Javier Ortiz did nothing wrong.”

View the official termination letter sent to Ortiz below:

About the Authors:

Louis Aguirre is an Emmy-award winning journalist who anchors weekday newscasts and serves as WPLG Local 10’s Environmental Advocate.

David Dwork joined the WPLG Local 10 News team in August 2019. Born and raised in Miami-Dade County, David has covered South Florida sports since 2007.