MIAMI (WSVN) - A City of Miami Police captain who claimed he was a black male during a city commission meeting was suspended because he is under investigation by another law enforcement agency, according to the chief.
Capt. Javier Ortiz was suspended with pay on Wednesday, days after he made controversial comments during a city commission meeting on Jan. 17.
“As far as Captain [Dana] Carr, she loves to call me a Latin male. I’m a black male. Yes, I am, and I am not Hispanic. I was born in this country,” Ortiz told commissioners.
In an interview with 7News, Chief Jorge Colina said the reasoning for his suspension is because he is under investigation by another law enforcement organization but would not elaborate further.
“We were made aware of an investigation that was taking place, and it is my protocol that once someone is under investigation, then they are relieved of duty, and that’s what occurred,” Colina said.
The captain was the head of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, one of the department’s unions, from 2011 to 2017.
The Miami Community Police Benevolent Association, a City of Miami Police union representing black officers, has presented information from an independent investigation that found, during Ortiz’s time with the department, he changed his race from white Hispanic male to black non-Hispanic while applying for promotions in 2014 and 2017.
“I would like to see him terminated fully, but this is a step in the right direction,” Miami Police Sgt. Stanley Jean-Poix, the president of the MCPBA, said Wednesday.
When asked if Ortiz could have been suspended regardless of the current investigation based on his recent conduct, Colina said, “That’s correct.”
However, Colina said he could not expand on the details of the ongoing investigation.
“I can’t expand on any elements of the investigation,” he said. “I’m not at liberty to speak about it, and I honestly don’t even know what length of time that may take. When there will be a resolution, I don’t know about it.”
The chief added that he and other city leaders were displeased with the recent conduct, primarily from the commission meeting where Ortiz made the controversial comments.
When asked if Ortiz could lose his job because of the investigation, Colina said, “He can be. I mean, those are things, like I said, when you consider someone’s employment and an employment action and is something that could be litigated for years potentially, that’s been something that we discuss with the labor attorneys, with human resources, etcetera, to make sure that we arrive at the right decision, but it is something that is deliberated without a doubt.”
Colina did not elaborate which law enforcement agency is involved in the captain’s investigation.
7News reached out to Ortiz, who said he has been advised not to give interviews while he is relieved of duty, but he added that he does not know why he was suspended and has not been told why.
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