Betraying the Badge?

(WSVN) - A fired Miami cop is fighting to get his job back, even though he is a person of interest in a murder investigation. 7’s Sheldon Fox shows why the victim’s family says that former officer is “Betraying the Badge.”

The Millares family has been waiting a decade to find out who murdered their loved one, Yosbel.

Magnolia Millares, Yosbel’s sister: “My mom, she’s never been the same since my brother’s passing.”

Yosbel was shot and killed during a robbery in October of 2007, as he left work at a Metro PCS store to make a bank deposit.

Police told the family it was likely an inside job…

Magnolia Millares: “It was hard to believe. They were like a big family there. They were all friends.”

Five years later, detectives got a tip that store employee Adrian Rodriguez, seen on camera talking to police at the scene, was involved along with his father.

Claudia Velazquez, Yosbel’s fiancée: “I’m in shock. I’m disappointed.”

Even more shocking: When that tip came in, Rodriguez had become a City of Miami Police officer. He joined the force the year after the murder.

Because of the tip, Rodriguez was relieved of duty with pay.

Detectives questioned him about what happened. He answered some questions, but on others he invoked the Fifth Amendment, which allows a witness to stay silent if his answers might incriminate him.

Claudia Velazquez: “I am so disappointed that he would plead the Fifth. He can’t even speak? What are you fearful of? What are you hiding?”

Rodriguez was never taken into custody or charged with the murder. He continued on paid leave until last year, when he was fired for administrative reasons.

Now, with police union backing, he is fighting to get his job back. His union-appointed attorney says they believe he was fired because of the open murder case.

Eugene Gibbons, Rodriguez’s attorney: “Truthfully, what the reason is, is that the city has terminated his employment because he exercised his Fifth Amendment right under the United States Constitution to remain silent.”

Arbitrator: “Raise your right hand…”

That right was at the center of a recent hearing to determine if the city had to hire Rodriguez back.

Kevin Jones, Assistant City Attorney: “He is sworn to uphold the laws in the state of Florida, in particular in the City of Miami, and yet in this particular case, he’s already admitted he understands that pleading the Fifth means he doesn’t want to incriminate himself. So how do you do them both?”

At the hearing, Assistant City Attorney Kevin Jones grilled Rodriguez about the murder.

Kevin Jones, Assistant City Attorney: “Did your father plan this robbery?”

Eugene Gibbons: “Again, the Fifth amendment.”

Rodriguez refused to answer certain questions.

Kevin Jones, Assistant City Attorney: “Did you work with anybody to plan this robbery?”

Eugene Gibbons: “Again, the Fifth Amendment.”

He avoided answers — and outraged Yosbel’s family.

Magnolia Millares: “He should be involved. He should be helping. He should be out there trying to help the detectives involved instead of just staying quiet.”

But his attorney says Rodriguez has cooperated.

Eugene Gibbons: “We know Adrian did provide two in-depth statements to police.”

And, he says, they will continue the fight to get his badge back, with back pay and benefits.

Eugene Gibbons: “You’re innocent until proven guilty, and that fact that you assert a constitutional right should not shine any negativity on you for doing so.”

When Yosbel died, Claudia lost the love of her life and the father of her son. She says an officer who stays silent to protect himself or someone else is betraying the badge he wears.

Claudia Velazquez: “You’re going to use the Fifth Amendment to withhold information that can possibly bring peace — some sort of closure to a family who’s been hurting for 10 years? I feel that you don’t get that right.”

The final decision is now in the hands of the arbitrator, which could come in weeks or months.

In the meantime, the murder investigation and the waiting for the family continues.

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