Delusions of Dogma

A town is gripped by bitter accusations, bogus arrests, rumors of violence, canine carnage, and general mayhem

Coyle later relayed what had happened to McDade, who immediately contacted his best friend. "I called Walker up and asked him why he didn't tell me about the meeting," McDade recalls. "He told me that I didn't need to know. And then he told me he was reconsidering his position about firing the chief." McDade reminded Walker that the chief's ouster was why he'd been elected. In fact, warned McDade, if Walker refused to fire the chief as his first official act, the homeowners committee would seek a recall.

Walker, who was designated mayor by the other commissioners during the installation ceremony, stood his ground. "These people wanted blood on the walls from the first day out," he says. "At our first meeting, in front of everybody, including the police chief, I told Roy that he was welcome to walk his dogs in Biscayne Park without fear of arrest. He continued to go outside the village. The man needs help."

McDade considered the reversal an act of treachery. Not only were they friends, but also he'd helped Walker financially. (According to the Miami-Dade County Clerk's Office, McDade has helped refinance three mortgages on Walker's house.) "My father once told me you're lucky if you can find five true friends in life," he says. "Ted was once considered a friend. I took this guy out of a watermelon patch and made him a commissioner."

McDade's shrine to Jerry and Kismet
Jonathan Postal
McDade's shrine to Jerry and Kismet
Mayor Ted Walker (left) and Ronald Gotlin (right) have an ax to grind with 
Roy McDade, says Ronald Coyle (middle)
Mayor Ted Walker (left) and Ronald Gotlin (right) have an ax to grind with Roy McDade, says Ronald Coyle (middle)

Once the installation ceremony had concluded, Chief Gotlin took the podium and offered his resignation. "This past election was run on a platform of change," he said. "The main focus was change in the police department.... It's been a good ride for me here. Apparently it is time for me to move on." Coyle, Hornbuckle, and Walker voted to accept his resignation; the two incumbents -- John Anderson and David Goehl -- voted no.

Gotlin agreed to stay on as chief until the village commission named his successor. But two months later, McDade and Coyle began to wonder if the chief was going anywhere. He was still on the job, and the commission had not begun searching for a new police chief. At the village commission's monthly February meeting, Coyle nominated Biscayne Park Police Officer Enrique "Henry" Casabo for the position. The motion died by a four-to-one vote. As far as Coyle could tell, his committee-sponsored colleagues, Walker and Hornbuckle, had jumped ship. "We were elected to clean house," he says, "and we didn't."

On March 24, 2004, about three months after the election, Jane McDade, a petite woman with curly auburn hair, was tending to a litter of bulldog puppies in her garage around 10:00 p.m. Returning to the kitchen, she says, she tripped on a step and "went flying." She cut her lip open when her mouth slammed against the metal edge of the kitchen sink, which stood only a few feet from the doorway.

When she saw blood pouring from her mouth onto the floor, she became hysterical and asked her husband to take her to the hospital. "I got mad at Roy because he didn't want to take me to the hospital because we'd both had a few drinks that night," she recalls, leaning against an antique armoire in the McDade's living room. "He was paranoid about the police stopping him because of Gotlin."

So Mrs. McDade was angry and perhaps a bit tipsy when she dialed 911 for an ambulance. During the call, in fact, she never made a specific request of the emergency operator. According to the 911 tape, Roy McDade is heard telling his wife she's drunk, and she can be heard screaming, "Get away from me! Get away from me! I'm not fucking.... Oh, my God! I'm bleeding to death!"

By the time Biscayne Park Police officers had concluded their response to the 911 call, Roy McDade was under arrest on a felony count of assault and battery on his wife, two felony counts of battery on a law-enforcement officer, and two charges of resisting arrest with violence.

According to police reports, Officer Casabo and Sergeant Michael Marchese responded to the call. When they knocked on the McDades' front door, an "angry" and "agitated" Roy answered. The officer claimed there were welts and minor cuts on Roy's face. Casabo wrote that Mr. McDade said his wife had pushed, punched, and kicked him. He also called her a "drunk" who was "always intoxicated," according to Casabo's report.

Jane McDade soon appeared at the front door as well, holding a blood-soaked towel to her mouth. She "started yelling at both these officers to leave their property," Casabo wrote. "After numerous attempts to explain ... that we were just doing our job, and that we needed to investigate this offense, Mr. McDade attempted to close the front door." Marchese was holding the door open when Roy McDade allegedly grabbed him and pushed him backward. The policemen put him under arrest, charging him with battery, and as they were trying to place the handcuffs on McDade's wrists, according to Casabo's report, he "pushed [Marchese] and struck my hands while attempting to break free." After running down a hallway leading to a bedroom, he continued to resist the officers, Casabo said, and knocked Marchese's handcuffs and flashlight to the floor. The two cops called for assistance from an El Portal police officer, and they finally subdued McDade, who was first taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital and then to the county jail.

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