by Casey J. Bastian
Miami Police Department (“MPD”) Chief of Police Manny Morales believes in officer accountability. His statement makes that clear: “If in fact it is determined that it is our officer, he will be held accountable for his actions.” In the statement, Morales described the officer as having a “lack of concern, compassion, and empathy” that was “unsettling and disturbing.” What exactly did this officer do to raise the ire of his chief? The officer violated the unwritten rule known as the “Blue Code of Silence” — a cop is never allowed to publicly criticize another officer.
The incident began on a day in August 2022. According to reports, a 32-second audio recording reveals that the MPD officer contacted dispatch over the radio “to find out why Miami-Dade patrol cars are passing him” at speeds exceeding 60 mph on NW 7th Avenue. As Miami-Dade Police Department (“MDPD”) is the sheriff’s department and MPD is the metropolitan force, the officer was rightfully concerned about why MDPD units were driving recklessly down crowded city streets that the MPD patrol. The MPD officer then advised dispatch to “let them know they’re going to have another officer down if they keep going at 70 miles per hour near my car.” Morales was compelled to release the statement after a copy of the radio transmission went public. Some law enforcement personnel took the MPD comment as a threat to officer safety.
It turns out that a MDPD deputy “was shot in the head by … an armed robbery suspect.” The MPD officer was apparently unaware of this incident. Ostensibly, this was the justification for the excessive, reckless driving according to both Morales and the MDPD deputies. They were simply “running a 3” (utilizing lights and sirens) in response. Critics complain that this shows a lack of concern, compassion, and empathy for the citizens their conduct placed in danger. It is a typical response by law enforcement to attempt to punish one officer for attempting to hold others accountable for their misconduct. It is never okay to place the life of innocent civilians in danger simply because one may be responding to an emergency. The value of the life of an officer is not greater than that of an ordinary citizen. A principle that’s lost on most cops.
Many citizens of Miami report that the MDPD and the MPD typically drive in a reckless manner even when there isn’t an “officer down.” That is something Morales should investigate. All too often in America, law enforcement personnel feel that their interests rise above the need to follow the law. No emergency authorizes such excessive speeds in pedestrian areas. It is a sad testament that no one is being held to account for their recklessness, except for the “recklessness” that is openly and publicly condemning another officer.
Sources: Miami Herald, techdirt.com
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