Miami PD Shoots The Messenger, Says It Will Punish Cop For Complaining About Other Cops’ Unsafe Driving
from the way-to-back-the-blue,-Miami-PD dept
Why do bad cops stay employed for years while good cops find themselves out of their jobs? The answer will not surprise you.
The answer is not so complicated as it is filled with infuriating details. Cops drive fast because they have tacit permission to do so. Almost any reason will do. A deputy who had been ordered not to pursue a vehicle did so anyway, resulting in him rear-ending another car while traveling at 104 mph. The deputy managed to avoid any serious injuries. The victim, however, was left to deal with this:
That crash was into the rear of a Smart car driven by Harry Deshommes. While Hegele did not suffer any serious injuries, Deshommes had to have his spleen removed and suffered from a skull fracture, a traumatic brain injury, a broken left arm, a broken back, several broken ribs and a broken pelvis, according to CBS 12. Deshommes’ Smart car reportedly rolled several times after impact.
Cops drive this way even when off-duty. In this case, an off-duty officer caused a crash but it was the woman whose car he hit who was initially criminally charged, despite the accident killing her infant child and injuring all six people in the van.
Just weeks after a Baton Rouge police officer was arrested on negligent homicide and accused of causing a crash that injured several people and killed a baby, the child’s mother was also arrested on the same charge because police said she failed to properly secure the baby’s car seat.
Brittany Stephens, 20, was arrested Tuesday after police found that her daughter’s car seat was not secured and the straps were not adjusted correctly for the child’s height, according to her arrest report. Police said the “lack of securing the seat to the vehicle and the loose straps are a contributing factor in the death” of the child and “show gross negligence” on the mother’s part.
Fortunately, the officer was also criminally charged. But the PD, which gave him a paid vacation while his legal problems were sorted out, refused to specify when it would open its own investigation into the incident.
That investigation will not begin until he recovers from his injuries and is released to work by a doctor.
Here’s a deputy “responding to a suicide” who crashed his cruiser at 110 mph without his emergency lights activated. According to the deputy, the car that barely clipped the rear end of his vehicle ran a stop sign. An investigation said otherwise and the deputy was charged with reckless driving. The crash also resulted in a multi-day search for the police dog that was in the car at the time of the crash.
Here’s another cop rushing to the scene of a… wait for it… “Shop with a Cop” event where an officer had locked himself out of a vehicle. Apparently, the officer felt it was an emergency and hit a high school student’s car while traveling 96 mph in a 50-mph zone, killing her.
Cops make spectacularly bad judgments while driving. Being in a police car apparently immunizes them from traffic laws and literally anything that can be viewed as an officer distress call — whether it’s an officer down or an officer trying to get into their locked car — will be treated as such. Civilians are presumably just supposed to govern themselves accordingly and try not to get hit by uniformed reckless drivers.
But police officials don’t get upset about reckless driving by officers until after it hurts or kills someone. And even then, as detailed above, investigations will be delayed and officers will continue to get paid while the wheels of justice move at the speed of police accountability.
What police officials will be proactive about is punishing any officer who calls out other officers’ bad behavior. Case in point, this Miami Herald story that, for no apparent reason, refers to the legitimate (if poorly phrased) complaint as “whining.”
The city of Miami’s police chief wants to know which of his officers complained to radio dispatch Monday night that patrol cars passing him at a high rate of speed — as they raced to the scene of a cop who had been shot — were endangering him.
In a 32-second audio recording provided to the Herald, an officer can be heard asking dispatch to find out why Miami-Dade patrol cars are passing him at 60 mph on Northwest Seventh Avenue.
When dispatch replied “officer down,” a male officer responded: “To yourselves, let them know they’re going to have another officer down if they keep going at 70 miles per hour near my car.”
Now, this comment can be taken a couple of ways. It could mean the officer intended to personally harm the next cop that headed down this street at an excessive rate of speed. Or he could have meant the reckless driving was likely to result in another cop injury or death.
The implicit message should have been clear: officers were driving unsafely, posing a risk to themselves and others. Driving so unsafely, in fact, that a cop felt compelled to comment on it.
The immediate response from the Miami police chief was to call the officer’s comment “disgusting” and “disturbing.” The follow up response was to inform the public via social media that the Miami PD definitely wanted to punish this cop for expressing his concern about other officers’ actions.
We are aware of a police audio radio transmission possibly involving one of our officers.
If in fact it is determined that it is our officer, he will be held accountable for his actions. It is unsettling and disturbing listening to the lack of concern, compassion, and empathy.
Is that a fact? What about the lack of concern implicitly expressed in this official statement, which suggests officers are correct to operate their vehicles unsafely as long as there’s some sort of emergency to respond to? And what exactly does the officer need to be punished for? He expressed an apparently unpopular sentiment, but that doesn’t make him wrong. If this officer does get rung up for informing dispatch about unsafe driving, hopefully his union will step up and get his punishment overturned. It would be nice to see a police union be on the right side of history for a change and this would give it a perfect opportunity to do so.
But it’s extremely unlikely this will happen. The local police union has already gone on record, implicitly stating it’s only willing to defend officers engaged in actual misconduct.
The South Florida Police Benevolent Association says the audio is not a reflection of the City of Miami Police Department.
This statement doesn’t send the message the PD hopes it does. Instead, it tells the public the only misconduct it will respond swiftly to is officers criticizing other officers. It also tells taxpayers that anyone hit by a speeding cop car is just in the wrong place at the wrong time, with the “wrong place” being any road and the “wrong time” being any time officers choose to drive recklessly.