Miami Beach Police Officer Manuel Chorens has a round, fleshy face and an ample belly stretching the front of his blue uniform. His hair is streaked with white; his jet-black eyebrows are prominent over a flat nose.

Maybe he has pulled you over. Maybe you have passed him at CVS, where until recently he worked late-night shifts. You probably don't remember him.

But Chorens has secrets. For one, he's rich. In 2008, he pulled in $175,651.84.

Also, he's a crook.

In August 2008 at the Lincoln Road CVS — a drugstore blocks from the beach where hordes of tourists buy flip-flops and sunscreen — managers noticed goods disappearing from the shelves. They began watching the 14-year veteran cop. Soon they saw Chorens, who had been paid tens of thousands of dollars to protect their store, filling plastic CVS bags and stashing them in the security room in back. More than $5,000 worth of stuff went missing.

A CVS investigator decided to dig a little deeper. He noted the time each night Chorens showed up for his shift and when he clocked out. The hours didn't add up.

So someone from the store called internal affairs investigators, who poked around some more.

Sure enough, they found Chorens was blatantly cheating CVS. Night after night, he'd arrive around 8 p.m. and stay until 10 or 11. Sometimes he didn't even show up. On his pay sheets, though, he claimed six or seven hours at the drugstore.

Though internal investigators found video footage of Chorens stuffing bags and taking them home, they exonerated him of theft charges.

But this past September, Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos Noriega quietly suspended Chorens for 30 days for falsifying his hours.

Noriega's force has more secrets. A Miami New Times investigation has found that 200 officers — 54 percent of the 367 nonexecutive cops — made six figures last year. One of them raked in almost $214,000, more than the chief or the Beach's mayor. A sergeant earned just under $230,000 a few years ago; that's about equal to Vice President Joe Biden's annual salary.

It gets worse. The Beach force, which patrols an idyllic strip of sand relatively free of blight and gang violence, is not only the best paid in the region but also among the most troubled. Some examples:

Officer Richard Anastasi, who earned $146,223.46 in 2009 before retiring in December, was charged last week with kidnapping a man and torturing him with threats of violence to try to extort $100,000.

Officer Eric Dominguez, who pulled in $128,853 last year, nearly killed four motorcyclists while he was driving a city-owned car and abused sick time.

Sgt. Jerome Berrian, who recently made $225,065 in one year, was accused of domestic violence and reprimanded for sleeping on the job.

Officer Eliut Hazzi, who earned $108,371, has been accused of harassing gay men and abusing a shop owner on South Beach.

• Two other top earners — Sgt. Steven Feldman ($190,655.38) and Officer John Pereira ($133,842.85) — repeatedly harassed a pair of Arab officers, according to a lawsuit and an internal complaint.

The department also faces a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union, which charges that officers systematically abused gay men near Flamingo Park. Another civil suit alleges top brass irresponsibly covered for a drug-addled officer who killed two men in four days. And a third accuses leaders of discriminating against an Arab-American reserve officer.

Many Beach cops, of course, earn their money working long, honest hours keeping the peace among SoBe's sweaty crowds of drunken visitors. Few other districts in America balloon from 80,000 workday residents to nearly 300,000 revelers on weekends, police leaders point out. The force is understaffed by a few dozen cops, they say, which leads to at least six weeks of forced overtime annually for most officers.

"We're underappreciated," says Sgt. Alex Bello, president of Miami Beach's chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police. "There's no other force in the country that deals with the influx of tourists every single weekend that we have."

Adds Assistant Chief Raymond Martinez: "[Our] salaries are consistent with other large agencies in the South Florida area."

There's little question, however, that the combination of big money and little oversight is thinning Beach residents' wallets and risking their safety. Officers working massive overtime have fallen asleep in patrol cars and made life-threatening mistakes. And unless city leaders, who for decades have caved to powerful unions' demands, can rein in police pensions, each and every homeowner in Miami Beach could be looking at more than $450 in new taxes next year to help fill a $30 million budget gap.

"I certainly didn't realize our police officers were making so much money," Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower says. "Most people are in a state of mind right now where they [will probably] think those kinds of salaries are just out of control."

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The list goes from sergeants to lieutenants to ordinary beat cops. It includes 200 names, although 26 are blacked out because police who work undercover are guaranteed anonymity by Florida's Sunshine Law. Each cop listed — from an unnamed sergeant who pulled in $213,912, to Officer Dolores Martinez, who earned $100,049.35 — topped the six-figure mark in salary, overtime, and off-duty work between December 22, 2008, and the same date in 2009.

The command staff includes 22 employees who made six figures, including Chief Noriega's $208,783.73. (Noriega took a medical leave of absence last week. It's unclear when or if he will return. His replacement, Assistant Chief Raymond Martinez, earned $186,467 last year.)

Individual officers' total pay isn't often scrutinized, in part because some earnings come from private companies like CVS that hire police to work off-duty security — often for $20 to $30 per hour. Some officers combine this with taxpayer-funded overtime to double or even triple their salaries.

New Times sent letters through the MBPD public affairs office to the officers named in this story in order to give each a chance to respond. None chose to comment.

Some of the cops on the list are simply hard workers. The third highest earner last year, for instance, was Sgt. Hyok Chong, the force's only Korean speaker. He has amassed a clean IA file during 13 years on the job. He brought home $177,827.36 last year.

Then there's Sgt. Jerome Berrian. In 2004, Miramar Police responded to a call at the then-34-year-old patrol officer's home. Inside, they found his wife, Velma, had been hit in the lip and head. He was accused of domestic violence for striking her and trying to backhand her daughter during a fiery argument. The case was never prosecuted after Berrian's wife refused to press charges.

Three years later, in 2007, Berrian hauled in $225,065.15. About $38,000 of that came from an off-duty job, but from taxpayers he still made $77,000 in salary, $99,700 in overtime, and almost $10,000 in so-called premium pay, which is compensation for special classes, motorcycle work, and other tasks.

Over the past five years, in fact, Berrian has made more than three-quarters of a million bucks: $824,528 to be exact. He worked plenty of off-duty hours for private employers. But even if you subtract that pay, he still garnered more than $730,000 in tax dollars — $146,000 per year.

Berrian is a prime example of one of the dangers of allowing officers to work so much overtime. In February 2006, another sergeant found him asleep in his patrol car at Arthur Godfrey Road and Indian Creek Drive, which isn't exactly a quiet corner. He was supposed to be directing morning traffic during a boat show.

Scroll down the list a bit further to Officer Eric Dominguez, who earned $128,853.86 last year — $122,789.86 of which came from taxpayers. In 2001, the then-29-year-old beat cop earned headlines when a clubgoer at Level smashed a champagne bottle across his face during a melee at a Memphis Bleek rap show. Dominguez was hailed a hero. "A hit like that would bring anyone to their knees," Sgt. Richard Pelosi told the Miami Herald. "But this officer stayed conscious."

Dominguez's record isn't so heroic according to his IA file and court documents. On November 20, 2003, just after 8 p.m., he was speeding toward his home in Hialeah, weaving his city-issued 2003 Ford among cars on southbound I-75.

Osvaldo Dalama, a then 43-year-old from Miramar, saw Dominguez coming in the rear-view mirror of his motorcycle. His 20-year-old niece, Sujey Vega, hung on tightly as he slowed down. Dalama's good friends, Miramar cop Raul Gomez and his wife Yolanda, roared in front on another bike.

Just north of 154th Street, Dominguez rocketed past and swerved to pass a car. He didn't notice a Honda in his way until it was almost too late. Dominguez jerked to the right, hitting another car, which skidded across traffic right in front of the bikers.

Both motorcyclists hit the brakes, but there was nowhere to go. Dalama and Vega went flying; Gomez and his wife skidded off their bike. Thanks to their helmets, none of the bikers was killed. But all four were seriously hurt.

"Dominguez tried to tell the highway patrol he was on duty, but my friend says, 'Quit bullshitting us. I'm a cop too. You had no lights on, no jurisdiction — you were just driving like a maniac,'" Dalama says. "It's a good thing [Gomez] was there or I'm sure Dominguez would have lied his way out of it."

Last October, the City of Miami Beach settled a civil suit brought by the bikers and paid tens of thousands in taxpayer cash for their injuries. The exact dollar amount is confidential.

If the Miami Beach force punished Dominguez, there's no evidence in his IA file. Neither Dominguez nor the department responded to New Times' request for comment.

Instead, he kept working — or in some cases not working. Dominguez has been reprimanded four times in recent years for abusing sick leave. In 2008 alone, he used 170 hours of sick time — all while earning $134.859.04 in tax dollars ($69,424 in salary, $56,370 in overtime, and $9,064 in premium pay).

The ultimate example of Miami Beach PD's coddling of its worst cops is 34-year-old former history teacher Adam Tavss, who was hired in 2006. In his first year on the force, another officer complained she'd seen Tavss abusing cocaine at a police Christmas party.

But he kept his job, and on June 14 last year, he shot to death a tourist named Husien Shehada outside Twist nightclub on Washington Avenue. Surveillance video clearly shows Shehada raised his hands and turned toward Tavss just before the officer fired his gun. Tavss claimed Shehada had a weapon, but none was found on the scene.

Just four days later, Tavss was back on the beat. And before his shift ended, he had killed a 29-year-old semihomeless man named Lawrence McCoy Jr. Tavss said McCoy — who allegedly stole a cab and drove the wrong way on the MacArthur Causeway — had brandished a gun. As with Shehada, no weapon was discovered at the scene.

Assistant Chief Martinez says Tavss's return to duty after Shehada's shooting was consistent with department policy, and he was never dismissed following the cocaine complaint because he passed drug tests.

Tavss was not reachable for comment.

The department stood behind Tavss until September, when a drug test showed pot in his system. In November, he resigned — and picked up a $17,242.46 payout courtesy of Beach taxpayers.

They might pay more. Lawyer John Contini has announced plans to sue the department over both the deaths.

"Citizens and tourists ought to boycott Miami Beach for their own safety," Contini says. "You may hope police will protect you, but who will protect you from the police?"

One of the most disturbing stories to hit the MBPD ended just last week when former Officer Richard Anastasi was allegedly involved in a plot that began just past midnight March 11.

According to the FBI, here's what happened: An unnamed Russian man had allegedly gone to an apartment building on West Avenue where he believed a package was waiting for him. Instead, Anastasi and an accomplice, 42-year-old Francisco Arias, forced the man into a Jeep. Over the next week, they threatened to cut off the Russian's testicles; they also beat him, pointed semiautomatic weapons with laser sights at his head, and held pliers to his teeth. They forced him to call his mother in Russia to wire money, and took $1,000. At one point, Arias allegedly told the man they would "use him as fertilizer."

The pair demanded $100,000. Then the victim tricked them into a meeting last Thursday at 14th Street and Collins Avenue — with the feds listening in. When Anastasi and Arias rolled up in a black SUV, FBI agents swooped in for the arrest.

Inside the SUV, they found kidnapping tools including a shotgun, a rifle, duct tape, flex handcuffs, and fake police badges. Anastasi admitted to the FBI that he'd impersonated a cop and tried to scare the victim, though he denied trying to extort money. He faces federal charges that could carry a life sentence.

Anastasi retired this past December 6 with full pension and a $23,776.54 payout for unused vacation and sick time, according to city records. In his almost 14 years as a cop, he had amassed 17 complaints in his IA file — eight of which were substantiated and resulted in reprimands or suspensions.

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Harold Strickland couldn't believe what he was seeing in his old neighborhood.

It was just past 1 a.m. on a balmy March Friday, and the 45-year-old Denver native was walking to his hotel after leaving Twist, where he had caught up with friends he hadn't seen since moving to Los Angeles five years earlier.

As he headed north on Michigan Avenue past Flamingo Park, Strickland noticed a couple of men kissing in a halogen-lit parking lot.

Then, suddenly, one of the men began to sprint north. Two others — both obviously plainclothes cops — dashed after him. Half a block later, one officer tackled the runner to the asphalt and pinned his arms.

The slower cop approached, still running, and kicked the prone man's head like a football. Over the next six minutes — a time lapse captured on tape after Strickland dialed 911 — the two officers punched and kicked the young man, berated him, and then, incredibly, arrested Strickland for watching it happen. They later filed a police report accusing the witness of trying to break into cars — a charge clearly contradicted by the 911 call record.

According to several Beach activists, it's just the latest abuse by a force with a spotty, decade-long history relating to gays. Of course, the latest case also involves two officers with bad records.

"What I saw that night was hate. Hate over the fact that someone is different," Strickland says. "Hate that someone's gender or sexuality is different. In my mind and heart, it was all based on hate."

The Miami Beach PD's first modern conflict with South Beach's gay community, by all accounts, came in late 1995 and early '96 when cops raided three gay clubs — Paragon, Twist, and Glam Slam — and busted dozens of patrons on drug charges. Gay leaders saw it as a crackdown on their community.

Police soon began larger outreach efforts to bridge the gap, and later that same year, the Miami Beach City Commission asked cops and gay leaders to collaborate on a new problem: gay men cruising Flamingo Park.

Gary Knight, then a member of the Beach's gay and lesbian task force, worked with police to spread the word the park was off-limits. For the most part, the collaboration worked, Knight says, but "one officer was abusing his role right away, spending all his time in Flamingo and harassing anyone gay," Knight recalls.

The cops who allegedly beat the gay man in front of Strickland continued that effort. Officers Eliut Hazzi and Frankly Forte had been hired in 2007. Both had run-ins with IA and their bosses before that March night.

Forte had been put on probation as an officer-in-training for repeatedly botching responses and ignoring radio calls. But he nevertheless earned a full-time job, records show.

On March 2, 2008 — about a year before his encounter with Strickland — Hazzi was involved in another ugly incident. Santos Ordoñez, the manager of Gallery Deja Vu on Ocean Drive, had gone out with friends after work and had a few beers. A little after 11 p.m., he returned to the gallery for his car keys and accidentally set off the security alarm. He called the gallery owner and the security company, but police responded anyway.

The officers — Hazzi and two others — burst in with a police dog and hit him in the face, Ordoñez says. The blow was strong enough to break several teeth. After wrestling the manager into a police car, the cops zapped him with a stun gun, Ordoñez claims. "They never even gave me a chance to explain who I was," he says.

IA exonerated all three officers of charges of excessive force. The then-26-year-old Hazzi was back on the streets and eventually partnered with Forte.

That March night in 2009, Strickland stayed on the line with a 911 dispatcher as he watched the young suspect get roughed up. As he described the beating to an operator, he suddenly sounded confused, adding, "They're coming after me." Hazzi and Forte forced him to lie on the ground, Strickland says. Then one of them said, "We know what you're doing here. We're sick of all the fucking fags in the neighborhood."

In their arrest report, Forte and Hazzi say they watched Strickland trying to open multiple car doors and looking suspicious. Strickland initially pleaded no contest to loitering and prowling charges so he could leave the lockup. But he later successfully withdrew the plea with the ACLU's help.

In addition to the contradictory 911 calls, ACLU lawyer Rob Rosenwald says the two officers gave him false depositions about the arrest.

At a meeting this February 9 after Strickland announced plans to sue, Chief Noriega met with members of the Beach's LGBT Business Enhancement Committee. "I thought we had a great relationship here," he told them.

But several group members disagreed. Chip Arndt, who runs a gay Democratic caucus, read an email from a young gay tourist who said Miami Beach cops slammed him with gay slurs and ran him and his boyfriend off the sand. "You may think that what happened to Howard was an isolated incident, but it wasn't," Arndt said.

Noriega's chief spokesman, Det. Juan Sanchez, who is gay, was given a seat on the GLBT committee. Sanchez has promised to better address hate crime calls to a hot line. And a lesbian captain was assigned to internal affairs to handle complaints.

"I believe we have always maintained a positive relationship with the city's GLBT community," Assistant Chief Martinez says.

Hazzi and Forte have been reassigned to desk work while IA reviews what the chief called "inconsistencies" in their report.

Hazzi, incidentally, earned $108,371.27 last year. Forte isn't among the 200 cops who made six figures.

After his arrest, Strickland says, he was traumatized. During a night in jail, he contends officers said he "looked like a fag" and threatened to falsely charge him with drug possession, promising they could make him "disappear." Once he finally got out, Strickland threw away every item of clothing he'd worn that day, stayed with a friend for the night, and then left Miami. He hasn't been back since.

His business, setting up household help for wealthy clients, suffered when background checks picked up on his bogus arrest, he says.

"I still care about Miami Beach. It breaks my heart that this is how the department treats gay men here," he says. "There need to be some serious changes in the department."

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The allegations of improper treatment of minorities aren't limited to gays. Officer Rabih El-Jourdi and his nephew Feras Mohammad Ahmad say the department discriminated against them. El-Jourdi was hired in 1999. Almost immediately, he says, other officers began mocking his Muslim faith and Arabic heritage.

His first field training officer called him a "camel jockey and a sand nigger," he says in a series of internal affairs complaints. His second one called him a "rag head" and a "shit bird." Once, a few years later, when his patrol car became stuck on the beach, another officer asked, "Your camel got stuck in the sand? I thought you were from the desert, and you don't get stuck in the sand," El-Jourdi says.

Two of the officers he says most frequently tormented him — Sgt. Steve Feldman and Officer John Pereira — are, incidentally, two of the highest paid in the department. Feldman recently earned $190,655.38; Pereira picked up $133,842.85 last year.

According to El-Jourdi, Feldman was fond of patting him down and asking "Where is your C-4?" insinuating he was a suicide bomber. Pereira, he says, refused to stop calling him a "camel jockey."

El-Jourdi claims he waited years to report the incidents because he wanted to be a "team player." But then his nephew, Sweetwater Police Officer Feras Ahmad, began working in 2007 on the Beach as a reserve officer. Ahmad immediately faced the same racial slurs and intimidation, El-Jourdi says.

In November 2008, Ahmad filed a civil suit against the City of Miami Beach and the police department, detailing the charges. El-Jourdi, in turn, made an internal affairs complaint. IA investigators ruled the complaint "unsubstantiated" — largely because it came down to a he-said/she-said with the other officers.

The city and the cops have denied the accusations and asked a judge to dismiss them.

Assistant Chief Martinez says the force's overall diversity belies any charges of racism: "Currently, 73 percent of the sworn personnel of the department are minorities and 56 percent of the supervisors (sergeants and above) are minorities."

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Despite all of those problems, Beach cops earn more than those at other, similarly sized departments in the county. In Hialeah, a force with 333 sworn officers, 30 cops topped $100,000 in taxpayer-funded salaries and overtime last year, according to city records. That's only 9 percent of the department, compared to half of officers on the Beach.

It's even more than tony Coral Gables, where 30 percent of the force earned $100,000 or more, or North Miami Beach, where the number was roughly 40 percent.

The City of Miami has 84 cops whose base salaries top $100,000 — including Chief Miguel Exposito's $196,000 a year — which is 7 percent of the force's 1,110 cops. But that number doesn't include overtime work, which the city claimed it was unable to calculate.

Miami-Dade officials refused to release their police force's numbers unless New Times paid $450 for the public records.

And all of that money hasn't bought better policing on the Beach, according to national stats compiled by the FBI. Beach cops "cleared," or solved, 15 percent of crimes — less than Hialeah, North Miami Beach, and Miami-Dade County, which cleared 21 percent, and about equal to Coral Gables and the City of Miami.

But the Beach cops were abysmal in some important areas, solving just 8 of 50 rapes reported — by far the worst average in county — and only 9 percent of car thefts.

Cops' salaries and pensions, along with precipitously dropping property taxes, might just bankrupt the City of Miami Beach. It's facing at least a $30 million budget gap, and its leaders are hard-pressed to rein in police spending. Much of the problem traces to a union agreement that favors cops over taxpayers.

"This contract has been negotiated during more than three decades, so it's very difficult to try to change it in just one sitting," says Jorge Gonzalez, Miami Beach's city manager.

The current three-year contract was negotiated in the heady summer of 2006, when real estate was still on the way up and Miami Beach's bank account was fat. Here's what the agreement guaranteed for Beach cops:

• New hires start at more than $48,000, and cops are guaranteed a 5 percent annual raise every year for their first seven years.

• The city pays for cops' take-home cars, equipment, eyeglasses, and even sunglasses.

• Officers have up to 26 days off each year, including holidays and their birthday, plus up to 12 days of sick leave.

• A "me too" clause guarantees that any new perk negotiated by the firefighters' union also automatically gets added to the cops' pact and vice versa.

To those standard guarantees, the city tossed in additional cost-of-living pay increases that averaged about 5 percent a year, 40 hours more of vacation that retiring cops can sell back to the city for cash when they leave, and an extra $10 a month for "uniform cleaning allowances."

Not a bad deal, right?

The FOP has garnered the money in part by playing to public sympathy. In January, police boycotted off-duty work during Super Bowl week and packed city commission meetings. For politicians, it's not easy to oppose the guys keeping the neighborhood safe.

"Who wants to piss off a cop?" says Florida State Rep. Juan Zapata, a Miami legislator who has introduced a bill this year that would cap pension benefits for public safety workers at a state level. "We need to address these contracts in Tallahassee because it's almost impossible for local municipalities to take on police departments."

What's more, the FOP endorses candidates each election season. The endorsement not only allows a candidate to claim the "law and order" vote but also means the FOP will encourage its members and friends to donate cash.

Two Miami Beach elected officials, who asked not to be named in this story, say union endorsement is all about money. When the union invites candidates for an interview, they say, the only questions asked are about the contract.

In good years, like 2006, that kind of pressure might not matter as much. But this is anything but a good year. The latest estimate from city actuaries shows a $30 million gap between revenues and spending for 2010.

Roughly half of that deficit comes from plummeting property values. The other half is largely due to skyrocketing pension payouts to the fund that covers police officers and firefighters.

To fix the budget gap, city leaders have proposed that police officers pay 12 percent of their salary — a 2 percent hike — each year into their pensions, that they agree to a two-year freeze in the guaranteed 5 percent raises, and that new hires will be allowed to retire only after age 50. (Now officers can retire whenever their age and years of service add up to 70; so a cop who begins work at age 20 can conceivably retire at age 45.)

In early negotiations, the police union has offered to forgo cost-of -living increases for the next two years and to pay an extra 2 percent into the pension fund for one year.

That should be enough to help balance the books, says FOP President Bello. "We sure as hell aren't going to give up everything we've fought to earn over the last 50 years," he says.

Bello says lack of funding, not six-figure salaries, is the problem. In good times, Beach PD was slated to have more than 400 sworn cops — today there are only 367.

"We're in the middle of four weeks of spring break, and we're forcing our guys to work overtime to deal with the country's spring breakers," Bello says. "It's just one event after another on the Beach, yet we're forced to fight with city leaders to show what we're worth."

To Mayor Bower, that argument rings hollow. "This isn't a good year to make the same demands as in years past. I know this is a dangerous job, but they went into the police force knowing that. We're going to need to hold the line on the budget, and part of that means everybody has to give up something."

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127 comments
papi1234
papi1234

And you're bragging about the piece of shit NYPD??? I can quarantee you that the Miami Dade SRT's are better than the whole NYPD put together. My advice go back to NY and wear your dorky hat and uniform.

Imothep29
Imothep29

As a nypd officer the Miami pd is the worst corrupted weak force in the country. I hate to say this as a Latino man but when you have Latinos in power and running the pd problems are bound to come. I literally seen two cops drinking in wet Willies in uniform. That Miami beach pd are the biggest pieces of trash in the law enforcement community. And the FBI or doj or the oig just sitting there. Florida - state of scams and corruption.

FBI to investigate MBPD
FBI to investigate MBPD

Please people wake up! File a Color of Law complaint with FBI about Miami Beach officers. Most of them are criminals and since the corrupt criminal mayor Matti Bower is back it may get even worse now. Especially if anyone was mistreated by homophobic officers Mirko Vasilievich, Rosa Olivo, and a sadist named Joseph Hart. Also, corrupt employees of Internal Affairs: Caroline Chin and Rey Aguilar, as well as their new captain Jennifer Elmore. These people brake the law religiously with coverups and fake investigations while are getting paid $100K on average salaries. Let the FBI know now at (305) 944-9101 and tell them that you need to file a Color of Law complaint about the MBPD officer(s). It worked in many cities across the country, many cops are now crying for forgiveness and their corrupt unions can not help them anymore. Contact FBI!

ken
ken

I respect decent public workers and have always appreciated their efforts.. but I HATE Miami Beach police. They are the most arrogant pricks I've ever encountered in any state. They give the police force itself a BAD NAME and they are seriously OVERPAID!The Miami Beach Police force is an embarrassment to all of the 'good' cops out there (IF they exist at all but you will never find one in MB that's for sure!) DIRTBAGS!!

Sioux Vargas
Sioux Vargas

We need to treat these criminals like they do in China: Quick trial, restitution to the victims and execution for the perpetrators. Thats the only way we will be able to clean up the department

Richard
Richard

The solution is fewer cops. That means YOU have to protect yourself next time a big ugly guy is beating on your door, or on you. If there are enough cops to get to your door within three minutes of a home invasion, then there are enough cops to turn against YOU when they have nothing better to do. When their budgets are tight, they start giving tickets for 26 mph in a 25 zone. They start tasering confused old ladies who won't sign the ticket. They shoot and kill a crazy old lady because they aren't brave enough to take a broomstick away from her. They beat down a college student for making faces at a police horse. Then there are the lawsuits the city has to pay for cops with anger management issues. Let's see how few cops we really need.

j r
j r

I laugh every time I see on the news about some cop getting it. When those four got it in Oakland and then four in Seattle I laughed for days. Cops are just thugs in uniforms.

Jeff
Jeff

Good for them!

Celso Magalhaes
Celso Magalhaes

Dear sir- I was stopped by a police officer at 5AM when I was driving to work. I live at the 1300th block of Miami Gardens drive. He stopped me at 8th Ave. He stated that I was driving 63 miles per hours in a road at is 30MPH. I know that Officer REGINALD JOSEPH MYRTH was not telling the truth. Reading your article in the New times, I was very upset. I felt that The policer office did create a false case to earn more money. I am very aware of the amount of over time they earned. But I did not know how big is this issue. When I went to court to dispute this case, I pleaded not guilt, but my attorney did not showed up. I was assessed $488.00 plus 4 points in my DL. I contact my attorney to request a motion. which was granted to April 22nd. at 2PM at 1351 NW 12 street Court House. I would like to know Officer Myrth 2009 earnings. Moreover, What can I do to even support my case. I know this is a rip off and I need to prepare myself. Celsomag@gmail.com ( case # 1289FVE)

Patrick  A.
Patrick A.

Every time I hear one of these filthy PIGS get killed,I rejoice,the majority of them are Criminals in uniform.Those that sits there and look away are just as bad.

Jose
Jose

The police standards in Miami are incredibly low . I have been over-seas and find this even lower.

Much of the low standards here have to do with a state attorney general who seem's to be asleep when it comes to political corruption and political corruption equals "some" unethical police and city officials.

roy
roy

in 1991, while working as a valet parking attendant, i was roughed up by a mbpd a-hole, because i made a u turn in wrong street. He threw me unto the floor,handcuffed me and abused me in front of all passerbys. as an ex green beret, i was tempted for a long time to do him in, but wasnt worth the cost of the round. luckily my ar15 wasnt nearby.

Jose
Jose

Miami has one horrible problem which is no real checks and balances which is why the standards are the lowest I have ever seen . Some of the most self serving and/or corrupt local politicians,city officials I have ever experienced and I lived over seas in Asia and Panama. Granted not all here are like that but plenty and than add close to useless Miami senators/congress . Mix in a state attorney general who seems to think that his job is to igmore it all and you have Miami.

I truly can't think of a single politician,city official ,police chief,etc who shouldnt be fired and I am not one of those tea party extremist but the standards here are deplorable .

I lived in Panama and found it better run greater ethics as far as politicians went than Miami. The police in Panama who carry machine guns were actually very nice non "Macho" Cuban cowboys like so many in Miami think they are (ESP Hialeah) and I say this as a Cuban.

I guess the solution is fire them all in Miami and hire the Panama city officials,police . Again all kidding aside not all here are deplorable but like Eric Cartmen would say "Hella many"

Jim
Jim

I feel like such an underachiever. But what can you do ? The community makes the base pay scales un-liveable here

Luis Duarte
Luis Duarte

I don't think is about money, the city Manager and the Commissioners aproved it, they are in charge to manage our tax money. On another subjet I have the sense that is a lot of police officer that are out there to make the money one way or another. In there trainning, where we expended a great part of the budget and equipment, they fail to teach to reconnice the most important part that they there to be part of our community, to be friendly and courture. In that I blame the chief of the department that has the responsibilty to see that they become one of ours.It has been said that some of the officer are ask by their commander to go and raise revenue by ticketing drivers. Special now that is a crunch in the City Budget. Do they KNOW how much it hurts those unnecesay fines?

Joan
Joan

When cops get killed in the line of duty why does the tri-state area shut down. It is very simple. What a great way to honor a fallen pig than not work for 8+ hours. The memory of that pig will live on forever as cops did not work for an entire day. Police work is based on how little productivity gets accomplished during a single day whereas in real professions that mantra is completely the opposite. See Miami Beach cops when they are supposed to be protecting the citizens are fraternizing with drunkin sluts outside clubs at 3am or beating down the innocent. The FOP are assholes too for condoning cops who are criminals themselves. All you morons that defend cops especially Miami Beach pigs are idiots, and you probably listen to Gloria-hole Estefan music.

Julio
Julio

When a cop gets killed in the line of duty why does the entire tri-county area completely shut down? The answer is very simple. Cops do not do anything productive during their shifts or for that matter their entire career. This holds true for Miami Beach “Officers” who have plenty of time to pick up drunk sluts outside clubs at 3:00 am or to harass the innocent. What a better way to pay homage to a fallen pig than not working for 8+ hours and still get paid. In turn, the poor pig’s memory will live on due to the stoppage of work while actual crimes are being committed. If you defend the Miami Beach Police Department you are a fucking idiot, and you probably listen to Gloria-hole Este-notafan music.

To Protect and Gouge
To Protect and Gouge

WTF! 60-100K in OVERTIME? With the unemployment rate and our troops returning to a jobless situation, these MEATHEADS are bilking the taxpayers and the "elected" oficials are letting them get away with it. We don't have enough teachers or books in our schools, yet these Neanderthals make $200K? Please tally up the lawyers fees that taxpayers spent defending the lawsuits of police brutality.

ANONYMOUS
ANONYMOUS

Cops in this area are absolute SCUM. They love to arrest people and have ZERO interest in the pursuit of justice. They are quite content to collect their fat-cat salaries and abuse others around them. The collection of "protection" money from local business owners is absolutely despicable. These officers should be intensely investigated by IA and the crooked cops need to go to jail for a long time. Having a gun doesn't mean you get to do whatever you want - a long time 'freedom' that these cops seem to think they have.

CG
CG

Thank you for having the bravery to write this article. There are many of us who live on the beach, and feel threatened versus protected by the local police. I would write my story as others did, but I still live here and I am scared of being harassed.

Carly
Carly

I live in the South of Fifth neighborhood. It has been more than one occasion that I see these same overworked police sleeping or reading in their car.

SandInMyShorts
SandInMyShorts

Who is overseeing the payroll for these douchebags? The undercovers are so dumb that one pulled me over in a Caddy. When I told him he needed to sign the ticket, he realized that he'd be blowin his cover for a traffic stop because I gave him the finger. Beach cops are no better than the scum they claim they have to deal with daily. Most of them are too fat and lazy to pass the physical exams anyway.

Joe Greco
Joe Greco

Let me get this right.... Police Officers get to pick their salaries... Oh.. ok.. So does every job get to pick their salaries??? Or is just the Police. Seems to me, the city should get a pair of BALLS.. Who else gets to say.. I get to pick my salary. ACCORDING TO THIS EQUATION EVERY STORE CLERK SHOULD BE A MAKING $300,000 A YEAR OR MORE...After all, they have people pull guns on them.. AND they do not have guns of their own to defend themselves..... Now with that problem solved... Lets Move on. Overtime. Funny subject.. with Police it tends to be politics. So I think I should get a turn. I do have an Uncle who is a County legislator, another Uncle who was county Sheriff, a cousin who was District Attorney... and a cousin who is a Congressman. Does ANYONE THINK.. BEING AROUND POLITICS THAT much.. I have not helped out with an answer or 2 over the years....?? Why this is a firestorm is absurd.... Do like the rest of the Country. Cops days in Court ARE SCHEDULED. Using that 1 day a week... as leeway towards if they must appear in court... And they are scheduled to work that day/shift. So, that they are already on the clock, but if need to be in COURT, they are still on the clock...BEHOLD NO Over-Time. Now that problem is solved... Let's move on. For my last point. TO ALL the people who think police should make all this money....I hear your point, but I ask you, how often do YOU pick your salaries??? I know I rarely have. When I apply for a job, they tell me what pay they are offering, possibly some negotiation... BUT when all is said and done,I decide if that job is worth it to me. I HAVE NEVER had a job and said... WELL I work on Christmas!!! I need more money for the rest of the YEAR!!! Do you people realize what you sound like???? And PEOPLE have sided with the Police.. about how tough there jobs are. AND the "FEW BAD APPLES" theory. AND I use that term loosely. For the sake of argument, I shall confine this to Miami ( but I have seen it happen in SEVERAL USA cities from one end to the other. That is Cops falsifying everything from statements to loosing Affidavits.. Not denying, there may be other places MORE corrupt than Miami. It was Miami, where I was almost beaten to death. Just about passed out from 2 Officers beating me on the back of the skull. MY BIGGEST CONTENTION: There were 4 more Officers there... standing there while they did beat on me while I was handcuffed. Then IA covering the who affair up. Loosing ALL evidence... and my IA report. In fact, closing it out, without ever performing an investigation. Later reopened to have them say ALL THE WITNESSES HAVE DIED OR REFUSE TO Corroborate their statements. I understand the few bad apples thing.. but the other Officers stood there.. literally turning their backs EVERY time I was struck. It took me 3 years to recover from that. One last bit. Before SOME MORON tells me.. well call a crack head next time... SEE what they do for you. HERE is my reply. I have never been struck by a druggie or thief in my life.. but I was almost beaten to death by POLICE OFFICERS... SO guess what.. Can say with certainty, that ANY choice would have been better than the COPS!!! nd with the closing thought... I can appreciate.. and even respect citizens opinions in this matter...BUT are our LAW ENFORCEMENT Officers.. and Politicians supposed to be held to higher standards???Or are we protecting these cops.. the same way we protected our soldiers in Vietnam and Korea.. that broke into natives houses.. killed the men , raped the women... and then went on their way....???

Joe Mgumbyftlaud@yahoo.comIf anyone might like to see the info I have DOCUMENTED...

CONCERNED
CONCERNED

I asked the question, why not the City managers salary, and the mayors salary to be included in your story. I have found 112 cities around the country with similar tax basis. The police officers do not make what Miami Beach officers do, not even close. However i also found out that they do not have the influx of visitors that the beach gets. Does the city itself make any administration dollars when its officers take these off-duty jobs?If so i think you have just answered our question. The city officials are not going to do anything about the police making extra money for working, if they are getting money for doing nothing.I did find out by the way what the city manager makes a year , he is the highest paid city manager in the country!

concerned
concerned

Did the city give you permission to print the salaries of all employees, or just the police. Im curious to know what the mayor, and the city manager make.Please find out for us tax payers. Maybe they dont do much about the police salaries because they dont want their salaries exposed.Im on board, but dont just pick at the police officers, we want to know what the city government makes to.

former tourist
former tourist

I was introduced to this cesspool of corruption, hate, and sadism in May of 2009. It was the last day of my vacation when these three Miami Beach Police officers went nuts on me just for walking from my car to the beach. The worst thing about my case is that they went crazy when I told them I was gay... They started saying that they know what I am doing there and they wanted to know who I wanted to have sex with... They started saying: "there are no females here, what are you doing here?" ...I was like, is this a prank?! So I told them that I was gay. Then they started spinning me around, pointing tazers in my face, and humiliating me every way they could. The male officers told the female officer to put her hands in my underpants and told me not to look at what she was doing... They were so hyper and sarcastic it was sick... It lasted forever!!! When I asked where does it say that I can not walk here, they pointed at a sign and said:" haha, can't you see it says no sex with animals, hahaha" By that point I thought they were going to kill me and stopped talking. Then they threw me in the car, where i almost suffocated, while they were standing outside and laughing and calling me a “victim”... then they repositioned the cars so it was blocking mine and told me " to get the F*** out of here" and never come back". They were standing there laughing while I tried to back out without scratching their cars.

Later I found out that they changed me with an ordinance that doesn't exist at that location... after $500 of fees the charge was dropped, but these sadists are still working for the Miami Beach Police Department, some of them even making comments on here, have facebook accounts, they live and breed in our society like parasites knowing that they can get away with anything while they are getting paid with our tax dollars. The internal affairs are not helping obviously and only made it worse by threatening and intimidating me. When I flu back to Miami Beach to finally find out what the hell happened to me, they started pressuring me not to file a complaint. For 2 days in a row I was told that I will regret it, and that it will not work in my favor, etc. They even had a nerve to tell me that they can do whatever they want, that they can arrest my friend waiting for me in the parking lot for no reason, and that they have more rights than the president!

What happened to me is not a gay issue, this can happen to anyone. People have a right to walk on the street or a park if there are no signs that prohibit access. People should not be harassed by the police just because they look gay... They charged me with an ordinance that prohibits beach access between 12m and 5am, that is posted 10 blocks away. They didn’t target other male-famale couples walking by, just me. Nowhere in that ordinance it says that single guys are prohibited to be on the beach…

Even though the charges get dropped, I still had to pay lots of fees, so the City of Miami Beach can continue its war against people who look gay.

I don't understand where are the mayor and the rest of the city leaders? It looks like these corrupted thugs from MBPD are running the whole town down there...

When I tried to reach the city manager, my letter went right back to the police department. WTF is going on down there?! …and why the hell the city’s website says welcome to the city of 25/7 if their beach is closed to the public?????

Alex Ramirez
Alex Ramirez

Miami Beach police officers corrupt? really? This is as much news as Ricky Martin confirming that he is gay. And the Mayor of Miami Beach is a gem. You can really count on her to keep the city running. She discriminates against "different" nationalities herself. To her, if you are not Cuban... It's OK to discriminate against you. I went to the Food and Wine Festival and almost got arrested for yelling at a friend not to go the bathroom because there was no toilet paper. Really? Is that what you will write in your police report? That I was warning a friend not to go into the bathroom? These officers need to be taught some ethics, morals and manners. Start by the higher ups and work your way down to the street beat cops. You cannot blame the police officers for acting the same way their supervisors do.

Aldo
Aldo

I'm glad that a serious publication at last takes stand on police abuse as you did in your last edition, Im a taxi driver mainly on the city of Miami Beach.it would be worth to say that in multiple ocassions i have been stopped and given citations for no reasons at all.On december 28 an officer arrested me and gave two charges that are false, now I face a trial, I have never veen trated the way I was that day and that changed my perception of the laww enforcement officers. Thank you for your concern.

wouldnt you like to know
wouldnt you like to know

WoW Beachvice are you a cop gangster now? threating miamibeachexposed.com like that infront of all of us? thats not a good thing to do there Mr Officer. If I was to report you and your supervisor for acting out on this comment box you have no right to threaten anyone... is that what you do to people you arrest???? well i have some bad news for you..... be aware of your sorroundings and this goes to every police officer that thinks been lazy on the job or beating up people for fun.... is what they sign up for....big brother is always watching... and I'm one of them. Video dosnt lie. and once the media puts a face out on tv or the internet for you or any other officer been corrupt there goes your easy laid back high salary police job buddy... I'll be seen you doing low pay labor work. Punk.

Vivian
Vivian

The MBPD is sure NOT what it used to be. I find that most, (not all) of the officers are young and cocky, with an attitude that says "i wear the badge, look out." I remember the cops on the beach being totally different years ago. I must also agree that the beach has changed tremendously and the crowd we have now is younger and more problematic, which when you deal with it on a day to day basis becomes a pain in the ass...and I am glad I am not a cop on the beach!!! I dont agree with a lot of people getting killed either but I hate the ACLU and their attorneys because it is because of them that we are the way we are today. More rights to idiots committing crimes and finding excuses, and they are always running to the ACLU for help.

Victor
Victor

I am not here to write about what Police Officers do to others. All I know is what they have done to me. I lived in South Beach for a year now and I never had a problem with any of the locals or tourists that come down to visit. As a Service Member I take pride in what I do and present myself at all times. Unfortunately one night while I was walking home a Police Officer approached me and got in my face asking me questions. He was yelling in my face asking all types of questions and cursing at me. Now I am not worried about anyone getting in my face and being disrespectful towards me. I have been in the Army for 13 years active and have been deployed once for 12 months and another for 15 months. I have heard it all and have items thrown at me and my Platoon. But When I am here in the U.S I don't think I or anyone else should have a Police Officer get in your face and disrespect you for no reason at all. I told the Officer to calm down. That made him even more upset. As I turned away to walk he called me back and asked me to put my hands behind my back. I asked him if he was arresting me he said yes. I asked him what for he said because he did not like the way I looked at him. As he was writing me up all his fellow Officer were having a good time laughing. All I could think about was the sacrifice I have given to this beautiful country and here I am being humiliated by professional Officers who are hired to protect the people. As I was in jail I also wonder how many people have suffered the same faith as me. I also read the police report and it was full of lies. My charge was resisting without violence.

Dirk Smith
Dirk Smith

In add'n. to these high salaries lets figure the cost of these cops each having a car to drive to&from work every day at our expense...some Miami Beach officers coming from as far as Loxahatchee.Could you imagine the cost savings if the cops drove their personal cars to &from work? 50% less cars,tolls&gasoline!!Its claimed citizens like to see patrol cars in their neighborhood..that kinda money buys me a lot of 357 shells

malcom
malcom

Fact: Cops are less likely to commit a crime, than Clergy. So the next time you want to feel safe, go to the lobby of the Police station. The only thing the church will protect you from is heterosexual sex.

For U
For U

To be honest, Miami Beach Officers should have refused all that shit...overtime and off-duty because I see yall residents over there are some ungrateful idiots. Again, these officers are out there to protect the residents and keep the Beach a safe and nice area. It does not matter what the hell they get paid...ALL OFFICERS IS WORTH THE PAY, Well all good officers.

MiamiBeachExposed.com
MiamiBeachExposed.com

Calling people "idiots' does not help you make your case.As far as research is concerned:NBC says "South Beach cops are essentially using the Super Bowl as leverage to get more money, a move that could financially cripple the city's tax payers."Are you trying to pretend that refusing to overtime hours during the busiest year in Miami Beach is in the resident's best interest? What exactly is your point?

MiamiBeachExposed.com
MiamiBeachExposed.com

Let's add one important detail to this story. While the cops seem to be having NO PROBLEM raking in the overtime money that private businesses pay them, they REFUSED to work overtime for the CITIZENS in that one week this year when it really mattered: the Super Bowl week. That's right, they just did not show up to work overtime for this important event as the union voted against. It is important for us citizens to understand what the priority of our police force is. It on making money and abusing citizens, and not to protect and serve. A disgrace.

http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/l...

al karajo
al karajo

Prize Winning Journalism Piece. Great investigating reporting.

Now to our Mayor Matti,

I voted for you. You said you did not know of corruption on your police department. For now I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

However, we need action right away:-Investigate to last consequences-Suspend Police Commissioner-Fire crooks - cops or not-End multi-employment (at least in Miami Beach)-Hire private security agencies for private matters (increasing employment at the same time)

Again, to the journalist, congratulations.

BocaMD
BocaMD

Pigs being pigs nothing new in this article.

Steve
Steve

I absolutely love these posts that defend these stupid fucks that wear a badge and carry a gun, they are pieces of garbage that couldn't do anything better with their life then become a stupid cop, because they don't have the brain cells to make smart decisions. Like one post said...they graduate high school, and they are a bunch of thugs, but hey..if you want to be a stupid pig..here's a gun and badge..let lose on the citizens and make shit up that doesn't exist, that's the american fucken way.....Time to move to a real town outside of little cuba..!!!

mr doughnutt
mr doughnutt

Cops are Corrupted.... theres nothing to hide.... we all have experienced a cop with a dick in his mouth... and all we could is shut up cause we always get threaten with "if you open your mouth again you going to jail" the justice system is a MOB... the officer beats u up and arrest you, then comes the lawyer asks for thousands of dollars before he or she takes ur case and then they all work a deal with the stupid judge. Its a bu$ine$$. I also have to remind the people in here since cops dont watch the news, cause thats what they teach them in the academy to hate the news media... guess you all havent been informed on the FBI stings on city officers lately been caught for abusing their power and badge... for example the 2 city of miami police veterans busted for escorting a drug van using their city marked vehicles... they corrupt... your given a badge right after high school with the power to mess up anyones lifes. Maybe FDLE should wake up and look into a couple of issues other than the corruption part... like officers abusing their certification to due side contract work... protecting the Mafia like Rothstein the lawyer was arrested for skamming people... that right there is not right... and he was paying the cops that protected him big money. Sad very sad. Its time for a change or soon thell be a civil war.

Tim
Tim

Who cares!!!!As long as the job is getting done.Kudos guy's rake it in!This is the home of the fuckin free!!!!Or used to be.....

malcom
malcom

To all the idiots bitching about the pay. You do not seem to understand how these things work. This article was written in a manner that did not address the differences between overtime, and off duty work. An Off duty job, is one where you are paid by a private company/individual to provide location specific services. Overtime can be any work that is forced or required by the employer. It is OFF DUTY pay, or the private sector, that is paying these officers these high sums. And if they get hurt, or their shifts are changed, they may go from $150k a year, back to their $50-60k base.

wouldnt you like to know
wouldnt you like to know

Citizen.... How about the officers that have been busted in the past for soliciting hookers in uniform driving their patrol car? who gives a fuck if the newtimes is placing ads of stripclubs? I as a reader love it. Plus this is about corrupted crooked cops not about what ads newtimes places in their paper.... Get a life and stop hanging on this PIGS balls.

More Fearful of Police Than Cr
More Fearful of Police Than Cr

Thank you New Times for finally addressing this important issue despite the politically sensitive nature of the subject!

I have personally witnessed the arrogance, abuse, disrespect and violence that is perpetrated and condoned by MBPD, including mid level officers who should have the experience and maturity to know better. The gravest crime, even beyond the theft from public coffers through wildly inflated salary, is the false and trumped up arrests and perjured arrest forms and subsequent court testimony, which leave lasting distrust, sense of violation and resentment.

To all those making baseless attacks against the article and NT in general, please disclose any and all relationships you may have with MBPD.

Citizen
Citizen

Crappy and not accurate article from a crappy paper that is full of ads from prostitutes and all the scum that's in this county. Just check out backpage.

Josmay34
Josmay34

That is not fair!! Now because you witnessed two officers drinking on duty does NOT mean they are all the same. You sound too defensive! Are u guilty of something? There is corruption EVERYWHERE!!! Including your hometown and it's police dept. I know a wide amount of officers, and they are decent and brave men and women. Go back to NEW YORK!!!!

jaws28
jaws28

@Patrick A. HAHAHAHAHAHA youre an idiot

jaws28
jaws28

@Julio they honor them because youre proof that the MAJORITY of them go from seeing shit that would make us lose sleep to having to have a better understanding of state law and statutes all the while making quick decisions to ensure that no one around them gets hurt so there not sued to putting up with dumbfucks like you.

 
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