Trending Topics

Settlement between city and union puts fired Miami cop back on the job

Capt. Javier Ortiz will work an administrative position directly under the chief and be awarded several months of back pay

20230503-AMX-US-NEWS-MIAMIS-MOST-CONTROVERSIAL-COP-IS-1-MI.jpg

Capt. Javier Ortiz the embattled former union boss and longtime firebrand known for racist social media posts and accusations of excessive force has been reinstated. He will be assigned a desk job and is expected to retired after November,

Matias J. Ocner

By Joey Flechas, Charles Rabin
Miami Herald

MIAMI — Miami’s most controversial cop is getting his badge back — but he’s not going to be back on the street and he’s already got a retirement date.

About seven months after Police Chief Manny Morales fired Capt. Javier Ortiz — the embattled former union boss and longtime firebrand known for racist social media posts and accusations of excessive force — has been reinstated. Ortiz is temporarily returning to a desk job after he reached a settlement with police brass, according to an agreement obtained by the Miami Herald.

“The South Florida Police Benevolent Association, on behalf of Capt. Javier Ortiz, and the city of Miami have reached a resolution to all pending matters regarding the employment of Captain Ortiz,” said Steadman Stahl, president of the South Florida Police Benevolent Association. “Both parties believe that it is in the best interests of the citizens of the city of Miami and Captain Ortiz.”

The settlement agreement awards Ortiz several months of backpay but confines him to an administrative job directly under Morales where he will not receive a gun or a take-home car, and he has narrow restrictions on when he can use police powers. Ortiz has a base salary of $155,004 that is bolstered further by incentives like running certain task forces.

“He will only utilize his police power in the event someone is using or threatening to use deadly force if he reasonably believes he must act to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or another,” reads the settlement.

Another caveat: He’ll work the desk job during late-night hours.

The deal, signed by Ortiz and Miami City Manager Art Noriega on Tuesday, requires Ortiz to retire on Nov. 7, 2025. Oritz has also agreed to stay out of police union business and no longer work off-duty hours or overtime, and will return to his rank as captain. In exchange, he’s agreed to drop all pending litigation against the city.

RELATED: City suspends Miami police captain who claimed to be black

Miami City Manager Art Noriega declined to comment on the settlement agreement.

Morales fired Ortiz in September, citing a “pattern of behavior and his failure to maintain a good moral character.” Ortiz’s attorney said he had received a reprimand over incorrectly filling out off-duty time sheets. Ortiz challenged the firing.

This week’s settlement comes two months before Ortiz’s case was set to go to arbitration. Sources familiar with police disciplinary matters said it would not have been a surprise if Ortiz won his old job back.

Under the settlement, the city agreed to drop its previous reprimand and replace it with another for improper procedure.

Ortiz, an 18-year veteran and former police union boss, frequently made headlines. In 2020, he proclaimed in a public meeting that he was Black, citing the “one-drop rule,” an old racist trope that implied anyone with any degree of Black ancestry, was Black. He was suspended a week later.

State and federal authorities investigated Ortiz for two years over misconduct allegations. By April 2021, the investigation resulted in no criminal charges but highlighted a string of questionable arrests and “a pattern of abuse and bias against minorities, particularly African-Americans.”

Ortiz, a former SWAT commander, made numerous dubious arrests and the resulted in lawsuits and legal settlements totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the investigation done by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In 2015, he made a social media post where he called Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old shot and killed by a Cleveland cop while playing with a toy gun, a thug.

Ortiz, along with other officers, was accused of beating a Francois, Alexandre, who was celebrating the Miami Heat’s NBA championship victory in the summer of 2013. Alexandre’s eye socket was broken in the ordeal, but Ortiz dodged any charges after a federal appeals court said Ortiz had “qualified immunity” when he subdued Alexandre.

©2023 Miami Herald.
Visit miamiherald.com.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU