Police Union, Lax Oversight Allow Florida Cop To Survive Three Arrests And Seven Firings

from the when-you-think-'The-Shield'-is-something-to-aspire-to dept

How do you respond if you’ve just been notified you lead the state in discipline cases? Well, if you’re Sergeant German Bosque of the Opa-Locka (FL) police department, you take perverse pride in your inability to be a good cop.

“I can’t believe that,” he said. “I’m not trying to smile. I just … damn!”

That was in 2011, when Sgt. Bosque wasn’t seen as quite as terrible as he is now. At that point, the officer who seemed to see himself as the second coming of Vic Mackey only had five firings (and three arrests) to his name.

Accusations of misconduct have piled up against this officer. The Herald-Tribune found 40 internal affairs cases involving Bosque, including multiple excessive force claims. Those reports found that Bosque head butted a man, splitting his lip open. Or that he cracked open another man’s head with a leg sweep. Or the time he smacked a juvenile detainee. On top of that they note that he’s been caught defying orders, lying to supervisors, and falsifying paperwork. His off-duty life seems just as horrifying, with Bosque facing multiple accusations from women alleging domestic violence and stalking.

He was apparently bounced out of the police academy twice and still somehow managed to become an officer. One of his early exits was prompted by his arrest on charges of stealing a car and impersonating an officer. I guess the Opa-Locka PD figured it was better to have him become an actual police officer, rather than allow him to roam the city pretending to be one.

Since his hiring in 1998, Bosque has been accused of engaging in pursuits in violations of direct orders, something he apparently tried to cover up by making an “anonymous” 911 call from his personal phone after the suspect crashed into a tree. He also was accused of falsifying his report to cover up his continued pursuit of the suspect.

Following a string of incidents that finally led to his suspension in 2008, Bosque’s vehicle was inspected by officers who found an empty vodka bottle, cocaine, and crack pipes. They also found a bunch of IDs Bosque had apparently unlawfully seized.

That led to one of Bosque’s firing. But the police union got him his job back, and the state’s law enforcement commission took no action to strip him of his certification despite — as the 2011 investigation by the Herald-Tribune notes — Bosque’s police record more closely resembled a rap sheet.

By all appearances, Bosque hasn’t improved over the last ten years. First reported by the Miami Herald (and amplified by the Daily Beast), Sgt. Bosque has again been fired.

German Bosque, the Opa-locka police sergeant who became notorious for repeatedly getting fired and getting his job back, has been canned yet again.

“I’ve lost count. I don’t know if it was the seventh or eighth time,” Bosque said when reached on Wednesday evening. “It’s a wrongful termination. Again, I’ll be getting my job back again.”

It’s Bosque’s seventh firing. His latest involves more claims of lies and shady behavior. It also involves what appears to be some incredible incompetence by officers handling criminal evidence.

It stems from a shooting that happened back in October, when a gun believed used in the incident was discovered under a boat in someone’s back yard in Opa-locka. Officer Luis Serrano was assigned to watch the gun until Miami-Dade detectives got there to process the scene. But Serrano left to go to his police car briefly — and someone on the street took the gun and replaced it with a toy pellet gun.

Sgt. Bosque arrived on the scene and began mentoring Officer Serrano as only Bosque could. The body cam recording caught Bosque telling Serrano to make up a story about why he left the gun unattended.

“What do we tell them you get to get in the car?” he asks, according to body-camera footage. When Serrano repeated that he’d gone to the car to look [for] some paperwork, Bosque said “No. No. Something else, anything else … you thought it was going to rain and you came to get a tarp.”

For all the cops who complain the “system” allows criminals to get off on “technicalities” (the nickname cops give Constitutional rights), they seem to lack the self-awareness to recognize they have their own set of technicalities that frequently allow them to escape punishment for their actions. And here it is, via Andrew Axelrad, Bosque’s police union attorney.

“The idea that the department is going to terminate him for this is truly unbelievable … I have very little doubt that he will be reinstated,” Axelrad said. “”This is more a function of his reputation.”

That seems about right. Bosque’s reputation is garbage and has been for a couple of decades. The only thing slightly surprising about this is that he actually was fired. If history is any indication, Bosque will be back on the streets before too long.

And Bosque’s own lack of self-awareness is pretty notable.

“It’s sad because I love policing,” he said. “I don’t like corrupt cops. I hate when I’m portrayed as a dirty cop who slipped through the cracks.”

But that’s exactly what Bosque appears to be: a dirty cop who slips through the wide crevasses his union and his supposed oversight create for him. No matter how much the PD and the city want him gone, they can’t seem to get rid of him.

Then there’s the question of how much the PD actually wants him gone. Sure, it’s been forced to reinstate him thanks to the union’s continuous intervention, but if it really wanted Bosque gone, it could have made it happen. Years of indifference by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement — which has continually refused to strip Bosque of his certification — has turned a bad hire into permanent Opa-Locka urban blight.

Then there’s the officers he works with. Some, if not most, must be ok with Bosque’s behavior. No officer has stepped forward to offer their commentary on his actions. And it appears some officers take pride in being bad. Law enforcement has cultivated an us vs. them attitude that takes all the wrong messages from pop culture icons like Dirty Harry and The Punisher and applies them to their daily work. Everyone who isn’t a cop is an enemy in a war zone. Busting heads and breaking rules is perceived to be the most efficient way to enforce the law. Violence is encouraged in training and rewarded with wrist slaps, reinstatements, and shit tons of exonerative reports and public statements.

Bosque is a symptom of the disease. And he didn’t make it in the law enforcement business for 28 years without the help of those around him. Most of us can go 28 years without being arrested or fired once. A public servant entrusted with this much power shouldn’t be tolerated for this long ever.

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Comments on “Police Union, Lax Oversight Allow Florida Cop To Survive Three Arrests And Seven Firings”

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This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

'A few bad apples' indeed

I’ve lost count. I don’t know if it was the seventh or eighth time,” Bosque said when reached on Wednesday evening. “It’s a wrongful termination. Again, I’ll be getting my job back again.”

When you lose count of how many times you’ve been fired ‘wrongful termination’ goes right out the window, no-one gets fired that many times without very good reason and at this point other than gross corruption and incompetence on his part all his continued employment is doing is showing just how corrupt the system and union is that he is still employed after crossing the line so badly that even a police department is willing to give him the boot over half a dozen times.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: 'A few bad apples' indeed

Yep, anyone acting like this in the private sector would have been fired, possibly barred from the profession and maybe even jailed by this point. They certainly would not have been reinstated after it’s revealed that he’d been both lying to his employer and misusing company property for illegal means. That everyone around him seems to be scrambling to force his employment to stay active after being fired so many times is just yet another sad indictment of the state of policing over there.

Also, yet another reminder of the point of the saying – the saying is meant to mean "it only takes a few bad apples to spoil the whole barrel, so don’t waste time getting rid of them". It does not mean "meh, we can put up with a few bad apples, no big deal". Police need to stop pretending the latter is the right version, because they keep ending up with barrels of rotten apples.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: 'A few bad apples' indeed

That everyone around him seems to be scrambling to force his employment to stay active after being fired so many times is just yet another sad indictment of the state of policing over there.

When you’ve got someone that corrupt and yet the union is still arguing that they’ve been fired multiple times for ‘illegitimate’ reasons whether they realize it or not basically the only message you can take from that is that the union sees nothing wrong in that sort of behavior, which indeed just highlights how corrupt and rotten US policing has become.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
DNY (profile) says:

Our police should be like the military...

…in as much as a dismissal for cause from a police force should be as black a blot on one’s employment record as a dishonorable discharge from the military.

Oh, there are other ways, too: not being allowed to unionize, ordinary cops getting as much de-escalation training as MPs get, rules of engagement as strict as we give soldiers in counter-insurgency theaters, and the equivalent of a court-martial for killing someone by breaching those rules of engagement.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Union paradise

Police unions are the Platonic ideal of the Republican depiction of unions. Anyone, no matter how bad at their job, deserves that job, and they’ll fight like hell to keep them in it. Seeking maximum money for abysmal levels of productivity.
Somehow, they’re not problematic unions for the GOP though. Can’t quite put my finger on why though…

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Union paradise

"It’s amazing how powerful your unions are."

And only the Police Unions, at that. Other unions in the US are decidedly lackluster but police unions can and do manage to get actual get-out-of-jail-free cards for officers. And in no rare cases, an automatic purging of their malfeasance record every few months.

cattress (profile) says:

Re: Union paradise

No other unions hold the power that police unions do because no one, not even firefighters and teachers, can leverage fear like police. Teachers are a sympathetic group, we all know they are underpaid, so people support throwing them some scraps and don’t go too crazy if they strike for a couple days. Firefighters have some dirty unions too, but them refusing to work seems to be beyond the pale. But cops threaten to strike, even though there are laws against it, back that threat up with a "slow down" warning, which is basically political suicide for the mayor or governor, who ever is in charge. Police pretend they are the only thing preventing a purge that will end society as we know it, and white affluent idiots eat it up.

Upstream (profile) says:

Fatal disease?

Bosque is a symptom of the disease.

The real problem is that the systemic disease has not yet (and may never) become fatal. The diseased system has survived for many decades, and there is every indication that it will continue to survive . . . and that it will continue to kill, maim, and incarcerate countless citizens, at least for the foreseeable future.

Anonymous Coward says:

i suppose we should be grateful he didn’t shoot and kill anyone!
how did he become a police officer inthe first place, given the record? how did he then become promoted to sargeant? how come he still keeps his job, regardless? and the public are supposed to feel safe with this type of officer in the force? i’ll bet it aint long before someone gets the ultimate punishment. what will be the excuse used then? whatever it is, it’ll be too late for the person on the other end of his conduct!

Ed (profile) says:

Get rid of the police unions

Police unions are nothing more than organized crime syndicates. They perpetuate domestic terrorism by bad police. Instead of punishing entire cities and towns, prosecutors need to start attacking the individual police who commit these offenses AND the police unions that enable them. Seize their money, seize their pensions. Remove the head of the snake.

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