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CRESPOGRAM REPORT

JANUARY 28, 2013

 TELLING POLICE OFFICERS WHO MIGHT HAVE TO DEAL WITH PLACIDO DIAZ THAT THE INCIDENT DIDN’T HAPPEN IS EVEN WORSE NEWS

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PULLING A PISTOL OUT IN A RESTAURANT IS BAD NEWS

I make no bones about the fact that I’ve been pretty hard on Placido Diaz over the last couple years.  I tagged him with the nickname THE SLUMLORD, and wrote about activities that I, and others in and outside of the Miami Police Department believe resulted in him resigning one step ahead of an IA investigation.


In my last story about his posting stuff on Leo Affairs in December I went so far as to ask him if he “had lost his fucking mind.”


I guess in a way, given what occurred on the evening of January 7th, he just might have done so. Hopefully it was only temporary.


Now, I want to be very, very clear at the beginning of this story that while I think this is a very serious and valid story, and that it needs to be told, I’m also mindful of the personal consequences that can happen to any of us when shit happens and the pressures become to great to handle.


I’ve not spoken to Placido Diaz personally, but I understand that he’s had both martial and financial problems, and that they no doubt played a significant part in what happened.


Even with that having been said, sometimes when you do stupid shit that in hindsight you realize you shouldn’t have done, you have to pay the price for having done them.


I can speak from personal experience because years ago, in the midst of a painful divorce and going broke, I went back to robbing banks, and I definitely paid the price for not being able to deal with those pressures in a more intelligent way.


So, I do have empathy for the personal dilemmas that some folks manage to create for themselves because of the inability, for whatever reason, to deal with the bad shit that happens to them.


At the same time, pulling a gun out in a restaurant, and threatening to kill yourself, or yourself and/or others is definitely some really stupid shit, and when you’re a reserve police officer and the gun is your service revolver, then that stupid shit deserves real consequences.


WHAT HAPPENED


According to the Police Incident Report and eye witness accounts, Placido Diaz, his daughter and her husband were having dinner at Los Ranchos restaurant in Bayside on January 7th.


During the course of that dinner, some sort of argument broke out, and Diaz pulled out his service revolver. What was actually said, or what the nature of the threats were, only those folks know.


But what did happen was that everyone else in the restaurant saw this happening, and the restaurant staff got scared and called the cops.


Here is what the officer wrote in the Incident Report as to what happened.

In Florida, anyone who exhibits “behavioral criteria that the person may be harmful to himself or others,” is subject to being transported to a “crisis stabilization unit for an involuntary psychiatrist examination.”


The law that allows for this to happen is called the Baker Act.


You would suspect, especially given the current level of angst and fear over the mass murders of everyone from cops to children that has happened in this country in recent years, and that only last week resulted in the Miami City Commission passing a gun control Resolution, that anyone pulling out a gun in a restaurant located in a popular tourist destination like Bayside would definitely be considered as being “a danger to himself or others.”


Yet, as the Incident report indicates, police officer Carlos Mendez wrote that he knew Diaz personally, and supposedly made a determination that he wasn’t a danger that warranted him being Baker Acted, but did consider him enough of a danger that he took Diaz’s service pistol.


Without being able to subpoena Placido Diaz’s cell phone records we’ll never know whether, or to who he might have called in those critical moments in an effort to avoid being Baker Acted, but given that he is an aide to City Commissioner Willie Gort, and an ally of Police Chief Manny Orosa, and that only months ago he was trying to get back on the force, there is every reasonable reason to believe that Diaz did not just rely on his personal charm to be able to evade the full consequences of making threats and pulling a gun out in a restaurant.


THE GUN


The service pistol that was taken from Diaz was a Glock semi-automatic  It was delivered to the Police Property Room.


Here is the receipt.

As you can see, the pistol is a Model 23, 40 cal Glock semi-automatic.  As here-in lies a story within a story.


This weapon is only now beginning to be provided to police officers on the street.  Yet, Placido Diaz, a reserve officer, was issued one of these guns before all of the active street cops had an opportunity to get one.


How does this happen?


Well, we know that it happens because of politics and favoritism, which only underscores the kind of special treatment that could also result in Diaz not being Baker Acted.


But, it gets even better, or worse.  The gun was given back to Diaz the next day.


You would think that the Miami Police Department would require that a police officer who misuses his weapon - especially in a manner that was threatening - would have to be at least interviewed by a psychiatrist or psychologist before he/she could get their gun back.


According to George Wysong, the Assistant City Attorney who is the police department’s legal advisor, that is not the case.


Even if Diaz has been Baker Acted, he still would have been able to get his gun back according to a Florida Attorney General Advisory Opinion issued in 2009.


Not all police departments follow that opinion, and some departments requires that an individual get a court order to get their gun back, but that’s only for individuals who’ve been Baker Acted.


In Miami-Dade County the Metro Police requires a court order “if the person used the gun to breach the peace.”


I’ve not been able to find any specific policy for the City of Miami, but if there is one, it’s obviously one that excludes the behavior of it’s officers.


THE COVER UP


Normally, a cover up means that all the evidence in a sensitive matter is destroyed and/or hidden.


As you can see from the 2 documents I posted above, that did not happen in this case, although, it took 2 weeks before anyone in the police department would admit that the documents existed, or that they would turn them over to me.


What really pisses me off about this incident is not so much the way in which I was treated when I first attempted to get any information or documents, because I’m used to getting lied to all the time by city officials, but how other police officers were lied to by the senior staff of the police department about whether this incident had occurred.


When I first started getting calls about this incident, one of my first concerns was that if Placido Diaz had been willing to kill himself, he might, if there was a next time around decide to come and try to kill me before killing himself.


Because I work pretty hard at times to piss off just about everyone I write about, I take those kinds of possibilities a lot more seriously than many of you think, and because I can’t have a gun to protect myself, and because I’m no longer fleet of foot, I do try to do what I can legally to give myself a chance if someone decides to come after me some day.


So, when I got the tips about Diaz, my first decision was to try and find out whether it was true, and I figured that the folks who would definitely know whether it was would be the Sgt-At-Arms at City Hall. That’s where Diaz works, and they would be the one who would have to deal with him should he decide to go postal in that building.


So, because I had to go to City Hall anyhow to check on some stuff at the Clerk’s Office, I stopped at the Sgt-At-Arms office and asked if they had heard about this incident.


They thought I was joking. I finally managed to convince them that I was not, and that I had gotten calls from several officers who had told me bits and pieces of what they had heard, and also of my personal concern for my own safety, not to mention their predicament if it was true and if there was ever a subsequent incident with Diaz at City Hall.


One of those Sgt-At-Arms proceed to go outside of City Hall and called the Police Department. When I finished up at the Clerk’s office and went outside he told me that he hadn’t been able to get through, because everyone was in some sort of conference, but that he doubted that it was true because someone in the police department would have notified them, given that Diaz worked in the building.


I told him I was going to the Police Department and that I would find out.


When I got to the Police Department and asked to talk with the Chief, I was told that he was in a conference.  I hung out for a while and then managed to talk to one of the PIO officers, told him the story, and told him I wanted to talk to the Chief to find out if it was true.


About 40 minutes later, the PIO came back and told me the Chief was still in the conference, but that he had been told that the story was NOT true.


In the next few days, after getting additional calls about this incident, I decided to conduct my own investigation and was able to independently confirm that the incident had happened,  and that in turn finally led me to write the following email to Chief Manny Orosa.

The next afternoon I went to City Hall to watch the City Commission meeting for a while - see my story about the Chief admitting that on-duty cops are being used to guard Gary Nadar’s Art Gallery - and the first thing I did was stop at the Sgt-At-Arms office to let them know that I had established that the story about Diaz was true and that I had requested the documents.


The Sgt-At-Arms still didn’t believe me, because he told me that he had been told that the story was NOT true.


Shortly after I entered the Commission Chambers, the Chief waved me over, and told me that I was going to be getting the documents, but that they had had an initial problem because the date of January 10th that I had given them was not correct.  The incident had occurred on January 7th.


The Chief and I then went on to have a lively conversation about how my providing a wrong date shouldn’t have been a problem because irregardless of what day it happened on, he, as the Chief of Police should have known within hours of the incident happening that one of his reserve officers had been involved in such an incident.


The Chief attempted to deny that this was the case, and that they had actually had to do a record search to find the documents - implying that it was only then that he learned about the incident - and we more or less left it at that until later in the evening when he and I had words after he called me a “convicted felon” before the Commission, and than I called him a “government informant” after the meeting ended.


The bottom line for me is that the Chief of the Miami Police Department had to have known within hours of this incident occurring that it had occurred, and that the failure, or refusal to inform the police officers assigned to Miami City Hall as Sgt-At-Arms is perhaps the most amazing revelation of just how fucked up the Police Department has become under Orosa’s command.


Besides the Sgt-At-Arms, the people who should really be concerned, if not outraged at this failure to share this information should be the Mayor, the City Manager and the members of the City Commission. 


The very idea that a city employee who works in City Hall pulled out a gun in a restaurant and very possibly threatened to kill himself or others, and that the people entrusted to protect everyone at City Hall weren’t told about it immediately is just the most fucked up incident that I have encountered in all of the time that I have been writing about these goofy people.


That Diaz was given his gun back the next day, without having to go and at least talk with a psychiatrist or psychologist is also a pretty astounding revelation.


That he also managed to get a weapon upgrade before the cops on the street that deserve these guns first, is also a disturbing revelation about the way that politics and favoritism impact the goings on inside the Miami Police Department.


As for Placido Diaz, I hope for his sake, and everyone else’s that whatever the problems that led to this incident are being worked out, because take it from me Plaz, doing stupid shit is never the best way to solve your problems.


AT THE SAME TIME, the failure of Chief of Police Manny Orosa to order you to turn in your weapon, if for no other reason that being an idiot for pulling out your pistol in a restaurant, only defers your inevitable and permanent removal from the police force.


People have a right to be scared about people pulling out guns in public places, and when a cop does it - even if it’s a reserve cop - I don’t think that this incident will be allowed to be swept under the rug like so much other bullshit in the City of Miami.


This was definitely NOT a Miami Bitches moment!

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