Miami, Florida – According to the announcement made by Chief Manuel Morales on Tuesday, a seasoned police captain with a checkered history with the Miami Police Department has been terminated.
In the midst of an internal affairs probe as well as two lawsuits that had been brought against him, Javier Ortiz, a veteran of the department who had served there for 18 years, was placed on administrative leave a year ago.
Morales said in a brief statement announcing Ortiz’s termination that “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 was terminated because he did not carry out the mission of the department.
Since he was employed in March of 2004, Ortiz has allegedly been the target of dozens of complaints, which are detailed in the report that outlines the reasons for his termination.
According to the study, Ortiz had been the target of 52 civilian complaints, 20 complaints on the use of force, and two administrative complaints. Additionally, the report stated that Ortiz had been relieved of duty three times.
Tuesday, a statement was published in Ortiz’s name by Griska Mena, an attorney with the South Florida Police Benevolent Association. Mena spoke in Ortiz’s stead.
“The decision that Chief Morales made today demonstrates a blatant disdain for the decision and opinions of the five members of staff who decided to exonerate my client based on the facts. These staff employees advised the disciplinary action that he ultimately decided not to take. It is shocking to the conscious that five members of the staff exonerated him and urged that the disciplinary be repealed, yet today he was terminated from his position “the wording of the statement stated. “The decision that the Chief made, as well as his justification for why he made it, can only be explained by the Chief’s refusal to acknowledge that Javier Ortiz was innocent of any wrongdoing.”
Edwin Gomez, a police sergeant in Miami, had filed one of the claims against the City of Miami and Ortiz in federal court the previous year. The lawsuit was filed against both of them.
It is claimed that Ortiz and the city retaliated against Gomez, who has worked for the department for over 20 years, for cooperating in a federal investigation that was looking into allegations of racist and discriminatory behavior on the part of Ortiz. The investigation was looking into whether or not Ortiz had engaged in such behavior.
According to the allegations made in the lawsuit, Gomez was subjected to hostile work environments, including transfers, suspensions, and harassment, as a form of retaliation for his participation.
A husband and woman have filed a second lawsuit against Ortiz, this time accusing him of making an unnecessary and excessive use of force while conducting a traffic check in 2017. They are suing him for false arrest and battery.
In 2020, Ortiz was subjected to severe backlash as a result of claims he made in a municipal commission meeting in which he claimed to be of African American descent. Soon after the occurrence, he was taken off duty as a result.
Seven years ago, when Ortiz was still serving as a sergeant, he was accused of using an excessive amount of force, but he was awarded qualified immunity.