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CRESPOGRAM REPORT

AUGUST 19, 2013

YOU WANNA TALK ABOUT A CRIMINAL
OF ALL THE COPS IN MIAMI TO TALK ABOUT TASERS, JAVIER ORTIZ IS THE LAST ONE THAT SHOULD STEP FORWARD TO DO SO

There are some days when I really think I’m living in a Twilight Zone.


Take last week for instance when the day after I had posted my mini-rant about Francis Suarez trying to pander for votes by putting out a campaign ad attacking his opponent Tomas Regalado through a phony message of concern about the death of Israel Hernandez - the boy who was tasered for writing graffiti on an empty building on Miami Beach - Javier Ortiz, the President of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police put out a press release that started with a claim that Hernandez’s death was solely his fault by “committing a criminal act,” and ended by offering the support of the Miami FOP to Miami Beach Officer Jorge Mercado, the officer who supposedly tasered this kid.


Now, many people think that Ortiz went over the top in his hammering Hernandez as a “criminal,” but that’s the kind of red meat rhetoric that police union reps often use in these kinds of situations because it plays well both with law and order folks and with many fellow police officers. 


Although this incident took place on Miami Beach where the cops are fully capable of speaking for themselves, its evident that Ortiz, who is attached to Suarez’s opponent Mayor Tomas Regalado like a Siamese Twin, saw an opportunity to do a favor for Regalado by castigating Suarez for his ill-advised statement while at the same time showing fraternal support for the Miami Beach cop involved in that case because there’s never a better opportunity to do a double-dip then when you can bitch slap your candidate’s opponent when he’s caught doing something stupid and also be able to rack up some brownie points with cops from another department.


That it was Javier Ortiz who jumped into this fray however, is actually quite astounding. If you ever wanted an example of what the phrase, “The pot calling the kettle Black” means, then this is the example.


Javier Ortiz, who I have previously called a Thug In Uniform, is the absolute last cop in Miami that should ever think that he could get away with labeling a dead teenager as a “criminal” for the purposes of sliming him in the eyes of public opinion, especially in an incident involving a taser because Ortiz is currently a co-defendant in a federal lawsuit along with 3 other Miami Police officers  - 2 of them now former officers -who illegally tasered and beat a guy from New York who attended the Ultra Music Festival in 2011.


When this case finally gets to trial it could turn out to be a landmark case of how cops abuse the use of tasers, and specifically how Javier Ortiz lied under oath and fabricated a false police report in an effort to cover up the illegal use of a taser on this individual.


But, before I get to the nitty-gritty of that case allow me me to highlight a few of Javier Ortiz’s career low points for my new readers, as well a refresh the memories of regular readers so that there will not be any confusion about why he continues to deserve being called a Thug In Uniform, and why his continued presence as a cop makes him a clear and present  a danger to public safety.


First, for those how haven’t seen it, here is Ortiz’s press release from last week.

Now let’s be honest about the fact that while I don’t think any reasonable person would ever want to see a kid die for spray painting graffiti on a building, I think that I speak for a lot of people who would agree that if some kid came along and tagged my property like this kid did that building, I’d be really pissed and probably want to slap his ass with his skateboard and have him scrape that crap off my walls.


The problem is the kid ended up dead, and no kid should end up dead for an act of vandalism. The criminal code doesn’t include the death penalty for graffiti.  Worst of all, given all of the circumstances, this kid definitely didn’t deserve to be called a “criminal” by a thug like Javier Ortiz.


Javier Ortiz!?! How many stories have I written about him and his pal Edward Lugo?  Well to date I’ve written 8 stories, 7 of which you can find HERE


About half of those stories have been about Edward Lugo, but you can’t write about Lugo without writing about Ortiz, because they’re the Frick and Frack Poster Boys for what happens when you hire thugs, give them a uniform, gun and a badge and turn them loose on an unsuspecting public. Lugo is to the left, and Ortiz is to the right.

Ortiz first came to most folk’s attention in May of 2011 when he demonstrated his own artistic abilities by admitting that he doctored and emailed the below photograph of Durrall Miller, who was killed after a manhunt that was prompted by his shooting a cop in the foot during a standoff before getting away and then answering the door of a house he was hiding in with an AK 47 when they finally found him.

Ortiz denied claims that the photo was racist by issuing a statement that said, “The email is not in anyway to be considered a form of racism. Commissioner Dunn says that the photo depicts ‘demon red eyes and demon sharp teeth.’  He is correct.  Durrall Miller is a demon because he tried to kill two Miami-dade Police Officers.”


Of course the photo is racist - you’ve never seen a white criminal’s photo marked up like this, and we’ve had a lot of white guys who have done some pretty horrific things in this community in recent years without so much as a reach for a crayon by Ortiz or any other cop.


But given the circumstances, folks were willing to cut Ortiz some slack because Miller did shoot a cop and probably would have shot more of them if he hadn’t been killed.


After that however, Miami’s news media tended to ignore Ortiz and his antics, because one of the pitfalls of the kind of downsizing that the Miami Herald did in order to placate stockholders was to do away with having a real Police Reporter.


It’s having a reporter who focuses strictly on the goings-on inside the various police departments that would have uncovered and possibly revealed to the larger public what Ortiz was up to after he gave up trying to be a Photoshop artist. Fortunately or unfortunately it was left to me, and this little website to chronicle Ortiz’s bad acts.


To begin to understand Ortiz, you first have to understand that he isn’t really a cop in the way that you would think when you say that word. He’s the President of the local Miami chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), and as such he doesn’t do regular police work because as the union President he spends his work time strictly on union related activities including negotiating the union’s contract with the city and handling disciplinary issues lodged against his members by the police department. 


You would think that because he’s not out on the streets doing police work there would be few opportunities for Ortiz to be accused of various kinds of misbehavior, but alas, you would be wrong. Just during the last 3 1/2 years when he was either the Vice President or President of the FOP, he was the subject of 13 citizen complaints. Since joining the force in 2004 he’s been the subject of 16 Use of Force Complaints.


(NOTE: From this point on, all of the documents that I reference can either be found on a page I have created that include the documents cited, or the documents are attached to previous stories I have written about Ortiz and Lugo.)


Ortiz and his pal Lugo have been taken before the City of Miami Civilian Investigative Panel so many times that they earned a place on their Monitoring List

I discovered this tidbit of information in my research about an April 2012 case filed against Ortiz and Lugo by a guy named Carlos Sosa.  Ironically, the incident that prompted this complaint was Lugo and another officer out putting up Regalado campaign signs in 2009 and almost crashing into Sosa’s car.


Ortiz was called in, and ordered Sosa arrested and charged with Battery On An Officer and Resisting an Officer without Violence, as a way to give Lugo and the other cop in the van cover. Sosa took the case to trial and was found Not Guilty.


Here are the allegations that Sosa lodged against Ortiz and Lugo regarding their behavior in the Courthouse before his trial that led to the CIP hearing.

These weren’t the only allegations, as I revealed in my story back in January. The two Public Defender’s who handled Sosa’s case, also had their own tale regarding Ortiz and Lugo’s behavior that day.

The CIP found that Ortiz and Lugo had engaged in discourteous behavior but they never got around to writing or sending their final report to the Miami Chief of Police until I started demanding a copy of the Report. When they finally did write and sent it to the Chief, here was their conclusion.

Discourteous behavior is far too mild to describe the asshole behavior these guys engaged in that day.


Ortiz and Lugo have been tag team partners for a while now and their actions that day show that they are unworthy of ever calling themselves public servants


My first introduction to these guys was a story that I did in November of 2011 when I revealed that the FBI had turned over an audio tape of one of their undercover informants trying to recruit Lugo to provide escort protection for some sort of interstate heist. 


The other cop in the sting got 10 years in federal prison for his involvement, but Lugo never showed up on the night of the job, so the feds turned the tapes over to the Miami Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit, and the IA’s investigation concluded that Lugo should be fired.


Unfortunately a funny thing happened on the way to the charges being provided to Lugo that negated that determination. Ortiz personally smirked and admitted to me that he and the FOP had devoted considerable time and effort to save Lugo’s job. That story, with the FBI audio tape and transcription, can be found HERE.

THE 2011 ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL


“In late March 2011, New Yorker Jesse Campodonico and his girlfriend flew down to Miami for a wild weekend at the Ultra Music Festival at Bicentennial Park - but they never got past the entrance.”  So starts a story written by Jay Weaver of the Miami Herald on February 10, 2013, which you can read HERE.


The reason that Jesse and his girlfriend never made it past the entrance of the Festival is that they encountered, Nathaniel Dauphin, Harold James, Edward Lugo and Javier Ortiz, all working as off-duty officers providing security for the Festival.


It allegedly started over a Glow Stick, and by the time it was over, Campodonico had been tasered three times, beaten and charged with Battery.


You now have some understanding of who Ortiz and Lugo are, but here’s who Dauphin and James are.


In January of this year after I broke the story about the Miami Police Officers who had been providing protection to a gambling establishment in Liberty City, Nathaniel Dauphin was charged with extortion conspiracy for protecting and facilitating that gambling operation in exchange for cash payments in that case.


Harold James was another of the cops involved, and he got 15 months in prison on a 2 count information, with an additional 2 years supervised release for also playing a part in providing protection for this illegal operation.


These guys were all part of Javier Ortiz’s posse. The were his guys, and so it should come as no surprise that they were all involved in this case too, because you know what they say about birds of a feather flocking together.


The short version of what happened before I break it all down is that Officer Dauphin attempted to stop Campodonico and his girlfriend from entering because, in his words, Campodonico was, “yelling profanities, and had a strong scent of an alcoholic beverage,” and then “took a fighting stance and stated “I ain’t afraid of you!”


This led to Dauphin, James, Lugo, Ortiz and several more officers supposedly fighting and trying to subdue this guy so  they could handcuff him and get him away from the entrance to the Festival.


That’s the official version of events as described in the Arrest Report and the Miami Police Department’s Response To Resistance Report, as well as Ortiz’s own statements in his sworn deposition.


Campodonico, according to Ortiz, was supposedly under the influence of some substance that gave him super human powers, and as a result, Officer Dauphin was forced to taser him on 3 separate occasions because he would not quit fighting or calm down enough for them to handcuff him.


According to Ortiz, Dauphin’s use of the taser followed department protocols.


That all happened on March 25, 2011.


From then until February of 2012, Campodonico’s attorney, Scott Srebnick, deposed all of the police involved in this incident, and after completing those depositions, he provided them along with a copy of a video that had been shot by a bystander and had been posted on You Tube, to the prosecutors.


The inescapable conclusion made by the State Attorney’s office after reviewing the depositions and the videotape was that these cops had ALL lied. That evidence was so compelling, that ALL the charges against Campodonico were dropped.


Here is the SAO’s Close Out Memo:

Most disturbing is the note I have highlighted in RED. 


Seldom do you see an attorney asking the State Attorney to prosecute cops for committing perjury, and unfortunately  once again it seems that the State Attorney’s office has done nothing in the 18 months since that request was made that would point to their going after these cops with criminal charges for their actions. 


This appears to be just another example of Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle protecting a cop tied to her pal Tomas Regalado’s hip through the Family and Friends Plan.


WELCOME TO THE 21ST CENTURY


To appreciate the significance and importance of cell phone cameras and You Tube in our lives, the critical piece of evidence that allowed Campodonico’s attorney to get the SAO to drop the charges, and that will provide the evidence that a federal court jury will quickly understand makes these cops out as liars was a short, blurry piece of videotape shot from a cellphone and posted on You Tube.  Here is it.

By itself, the video is hard to comprehend as a significant piece of evidence, but if you go to Ortiz’s deposition, starting on Page 60 - Line 3, and start reading his testimony under oath, or read the first few pages of the Response To Resistance Report, you will soon understand that by comparing Ortiz’s testimony and/or the statements to what you see in the above video of the guy laying on the ground as he is repeatedly tasered,  is that this guy was never a threat, never rose up and tried to fight anyone, and that what occurred here was a vicious attack by Officer Dauphin using his taser in an illegal manner while the other cops stood by.


Dauphin, contrary to Ortiz’s claim never followed department protocols when he tasered this guy.  He just hit him 3 times in rapid succession.


In order to cover up this illegal assault, Ortiz, either with or without the initial cooperation of the other cops involved crafted an almost totally fictitious Response To Resistance Report that NONE of the cops seemed to be have bothered to read before they gave their depositions.


In addition, none of them knew of the existence of the videotape, and as a result, all of them were caught out lying about what happened that night.


Without that little piece of videotape, there is no question that these guys would have gotten away scott free, and Campodonico would have wrongfully been convicted of Battery on these cops based on their lying testimony.


Now, I have absolutely no knowledge of what happened on Miami Beach with this kid Israel Hernandez, and no one should blindly take the facts in this case and in any way try to apply them to what happened to Hernandez, but there is a cautionary tale here about what can, and does happen when cops do something illegal and then conspire to protect themselves by fabricating a story that isn’t true.


The unfortunate part of this is that no one knows or can begin to calculate just how often this kind of thing goes on because not every incident has somebody standing by with a cellphone to record what happened.


I did find a disturbing reference to the frequency of deaths attributed to tasers however on the website of University of Miami Law professor Michael Froomkin that puts a very conservative number of around 50 deaths a year which I think might warrant tasers being considered as far more dangerous a weapon than Ortiz and others would have you believe.


The existence of this cell phone video illustrates one of the reasons that there has been such an increase in cases of cops attacking and taking away cell phones and cameras from citizens because cops intent on doing bad stuff have come to realize how dangerous a citizen with a cell phone camera can be.


JAVIER ORTIZ IS ONE REASON WHY THE MIAMI POLICE DEPARTMENT IS IN SO MUCH TROUBLE


In a often repeated quote, federal judge Robert Scola told Harold James when he sentenced him in April that, “It seems the City of Miami Police Department has a culture of corruption that exceeds all other police departments.”


That claim went on to be supported when in recent weeks the U. S. Justice Department issued a scathing report on the practices of the department.


In addition, in July an anonymous letter written by someone in the department revealed shocking tales from the department’s training program for new officers.


These are the latest highlights of a police department victimized by the naked political interference and abuses perpetrated by Regalado administration.


The situation has reached a point that young officers are looking for any opportunity to transfer to another police force at a time when the department will suffer a loss of between 300 and 400 officers and command staff leaving as a result of retirement.


In short, it’s a disaster for the City of Miami that’s coming down the road and that no one will be able to make right.


Astride all of this stands Javier Ortiz, who as the President of the FOP is the face and representative of the majority of the rank and file members of the department!


It’s understandable how Ortiz, cunning and resourceful as he is managed to get this far, but the fact that he has, and that as the President of the FOP he controls the union’s finances and determines how money will be spent on the defense of cops accused of criminal or illegal activity, including obviously the costs borne by the membership to pay for his, Lugo’s, Dauphin and Jones’ defense in this case, raises serious questions about whether the FOP has become less of a union and more of a shield that Ortiz uses and exploits as a cover for his criminal and illegal behavior.


In addition to his power as the FOP President, Ortiz also controls the off-duty jobs in the Coconut Grove area. On page 107 of his deposition, as part of a longer answer about whether he used any of the other officers involved in this incident on any of those off-duty jobs, he replied: “I run Coconut Grove.  Coconut Grove are most of my off-duty jobs”


“I run Coconut Grove.”  Yes he does, and you can bet that he makes a pretty penny running all of those off-duty jobs while making sure that he uses that power to buy the loyalty of officers he assigns to those jobs so as to use them as supporters when needed.


I’ve been told that Edward Lugo continues to be assigned to the Coconut Grove area in spite of his documented cases of abusing and assaulting citizens, solely on the strength of Ortiz’s power within the department as the FOP President.


Even Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff seems to have recognized Ortiz’s power because they have become close in the last couple years. 


THE END GAME


So what will happen to Ortiz and the other cops involved in this case as a result of this pending lawsuit? 


Probably nothing. The company that runs the Ultra Music Festival, under pressure from Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff earlier this year, agreed during a Commission Meeting that as part of the agreement that allowed them to have a 2nd Weekend tat they would cover all the costs associated with this lawsuit, which if you check out the copy of the Amended Complaint is important to the city because they are an unnamed co-defendant in this case.


Ortiz also appears not to have any fears that either he or any of his fellow cops will ever be prosecuted by Katherine Fernandez-Rundle for lying and for the various other crimes they committed in arresting, beating and illegally tasering Campodonico.


So the only other option to see these cops punished, especially Ortiz, since Dauphin and James are already in jail for the gambling cases, would be if the Miami Police Internal Affairs Unit charged him with falsifying the Response To Resistance Report and the associated crimes he committed and determined that he should be fired as a result.


That decision unfortunately would go to Chief Manny Orosa for final approval, and the odds that Orosa, who does not do much without Regalado’s permission would approve a recommendation that Ortiz be fired are zip and zilch!


Given the levels of political corruption within the City of Miami and the abject refusal of the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office to go after anyone connected to Regalado, there’s little or no expectation that Javier Ortiz will be punished for his behavior in this latest case, but there is one option left that even you the reader can participate in, and that is if given a choice between calling Israel Hernandez or Javier Ortiz a real “criminal,” who would you you choose:?


It’s Miami, Bitches! 

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