White Miami police captain claims ‘I am black’ during commission meeting

Cuban-American captain uses old segregation law to say, ‘I am black’ during racial identity speech at City Hall

Javier Ortiz talks about his racial identity during a commission meeting on Friday at Miami City Hall. (City of Miami)

MIAMI – A day after the Miami city manager resigned while warning that commission meetings had turned into a circus, jaws dropped at City Hall when the former president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police used the N-word, but not the racial slur, during Friday’s commission meeting.

Capt. Javier Ortiz, who is known for his brash personality, was talking about his racial identity when he referred to an old Jim Crow law that was used to thwart racial equality during segregation.

“If you know anything about the One-Drop Rule, which started in the 20th century, which is what identifies and defines what a black male is or a [N-word], you would know that if you have one drop of black in you, you are considered black,” Ortiz said.

A woman who appeared to have cringed decided to stand next to him with her cell phone to record the white Cuban-American officer, as he talked about his alleged African ancestry.

Commissioner Joe Carollo, who is known for his mercurial temperament, interrupted him with a question: “When did God tell you that?”

Ortiz, who called for a boycott on Beyoncé accusing her of being “anti police,” also said that he doesn’t identify as a Hispanic, a Spanish-speaking person, because he was born in the United States.

Ortiz has faced criticism for identifying as black in a promotion exam.

Commissioner Keon Hardemon, who represents District 5, listens to a Miami captain talk about his racial identity. (City of Miami)

Commissioner Keon Hardemon, the commission chairman, represents portions of Miami’s Overtown, formerly known as Colored Town during the Jim Crow era.

Hardemon didn’t confront or stop Ortiz. Instead, he said, “Let’s not talk about the degree of blackness.”

“Oh no! You are blacker than me,” Ortiz said. “That’s obvious.”

Ortiz also said he was of Jewish descent. In 2018, he defended an officer who was caught on video referring to a Hebrew prayer book as “trash” while allegedly cleaning the FOP office.

“I am afraid maybe next month you will be a black Jewish woman,” Carollo said.

Carollo is being accused of pushing out a talented city manager over allegations that he abused his power to expedite a permit for his home. Carollo has been accused of working on his property without permits.

Ortiz is facing the possibility of an investigation after an audit on off-duty security assignments revealed he reported working 27 hours in one day.

Hardemon is on the defense about allegations that his uncle asked a businessman for a lobbying fee.

Video: (Warning: Offensive language)

About the Author:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.