Miami-Dade TNT Unit Loses the War on Drugs and Liberty City's Trust
Illustration by Mark Poutenis

A week before Christmas, Dante Level stands near the vibrant avocado tree that towers above his grandmother's cream-colored house on NW 52nd Street. The lanky 30-year-old sports thick dreadlocks past his shoulders and a thin goatee. He swigs a Corona. Two friends and a neighbor do the same and pass around a cigar. Nearby, Dante's 1-year-old daughter and another baby play on the floor.

Dante's younger brother Khalid, a slim guy with short-cropped hair, leans against the family's maroon minivan. Inside the house, their older sister Alexis tends to her 13-year-old paraplegic daughter. Amid the preholiday revelry, no one notices the silver Chrysler 300 with tinted windows cruising the tree-lined block.

Suddenly, flashing lights bathe the front lawn in red and blue. More than a dozen cops in light-gray polos, dark-gray cargo pants, and black vests flood out of the Chrysler and other unmarked cars, storming through the front gate with guns drawn. Dante drops his beer. Before he can react, a beefy cop tackles him, knocking down his 1-year-old, who screams in terror.

The police, all members of an elite Miami-Dade unit called the Tactical Narcotics Team — TNT for short — arrest Dante and his friends, and haul Khalid and Alexis off to jail as well.

The Levels were just three of the 112 people in Liberty City booked that weekend as part of a TNT operation cheekily dubbed "Santa's Helper," which the Miami Herald and local TV stations ate up as a feel-good story about cops keeping the inner city safe — an especially juicy tale when coupled with video of the widow of a slain officer handing out 500 toys to poor children. The Levels' arrest led the 6 p.m. telecasts, with CBS 4 reporter Peter D'Oench hailing the MDPD for "getting kids in the neighborhood to see... the human side of the officers who love to interact with the children." A Herald story, meanwhile, offered that the "streets of northwest Miami-Dade [will be] safe for when Santa comes to town."

However, a two-month investigation by New Times has found that Santa's Helper was a colossal waste of police resources. Of the 112 suspects arrested, 73 people were charged only with misdemeanor pot possession. The vast majority of the busted pot smokers were either released within 24 hours or avoided jail by promising to show up in court. Of the 73 alleged tokers, 68 of them — including Dante Level and his siblings — had no violent criminal record. If they were guilty of anything, it was smoking a joint on their own front porch.

Police say TNT, a 31-officer team that focuses on aggressive, low-level drug busts such as Santa's Helper, is vital because their work prevents more serious drug and gang violence. Even as other units specializing in cargo and auto theft were disbanded last month to save money for the cash-strapped department, the brass left TNT and its $3 million budget untouched.

"This is a great way to capture a cross section of robbers, burglars, thieves, and dopers who shoot kids and cops and will openly spray a corner with bullets," says Maj. Charles Nanney, head of the Miami-Dade Narcotics Bureau. "Cocaine, marijuana, and heroin availability at the street level poses the greatest threat."

But neighborhood activists and some criminologists say letting an aggressive unit loose on small-time users does more to alienate black neighborhoods than it does to end violent crime. Santa's Helper, they say, is a perfect illustration of how a unit with a history of corruption — and a mound of complaints about excessive force — has lost the War on Drugs. In recent years, three officers who worked with TNT, but not assigned to the unit full-time, were busted in public corruption probes. Meanwhile, 14 current squad members have combined for 40-plus internal affairs probes.

As Florida's black communities roil in the aftermath of the police inaction over the Trayvon Martin killing, some observers say cops should rethink the philosophy behind units such as TNT. The story of the Levels, whose lives were turned upside down by the drug bust, offers a counterpoint to the boilerplate narrative that busting pot smokers in the inner city somehow makes Miami safer.

"That kind of strategy just gets everybody in the neighborhood pissed off at the police," says Roger Dunham, a University of Miami sociology professor who has studied the unit's techniques. "The last thing we need is to arrest a bunch of people on drug possession charges to simply fill up the jail."

In 1990, after the embers of the last major riot in Miami were tamped down and there were few cocaine cowboys left to chase, county police began concentrating on a new front in the War on Drugs. Inner-city neighborhoods such as Overtown and Liberty City and rural cities like Homestead and Florida City faced a new deadly epidemic: crack cocaine.

Following the lead of police in New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., Miami-Dade created its own tactical narcotics unit. Its acronym, TNT, didn't come by accident. The point of the unit was to use shock-and-awe tactics to overwhelm violent criminals in the drug game. The department tapped Daniel Flynn, at the time a major assigned to the Northside District, which includes Liberty City, to put together Miami-Dade's TNT. Its mission: Eradicate street-level drug crimes in every ghetto from Homestead to Opa-locka.

The unit was manned by Flynn and seven full-time sergeants, but as many as 120 county cops were pooled into TNT service, primarily on overtime. On nights TNT conducted sweeps, as many as two dozen officers in tactical gear would jump out of unmarked cars, using the element of surprise and brute strength to nab suspects.

"By merely showing they could use overwhelming force against them, the criminals simply backed down," Dunham says. "They quickly realize resistance is futile."

Flynn mapped out a strategy like a military general planning to take on an insurgency. "We targeted the most drug-infested neighborhoods with the highest number of felony crimes," Flynn says. "We would spend three weeks doing a lot of surveillance work to find out where the sellers operated from and follow their patterns. Then we would do a two-week enforcement phase that involved reverse stings and surveillance-based takedowns."

Once the criminals had been cleared out, the county's code enforcement office demolished crackhouses and removed abandoned cars. "We'd go door-to-door meeting with the neighbors and give them our pager numbers," Flynn says. "We helped them set up neighborhood watch groups in case the criminals tried to move back in."

By most accounts, TNT worked well in the beginning. In its first year, the team arrested more than 8,000 suspects, yet it didn't have a single excessive-use-of -force complaint, according to a 1991 UM study by Dunham.

"Flynn used officers who were reasonable," Dunham says. "It was considered a privilege to get on this unit. If one officer screwed up, he or she was taken out."

Flynn made it his mission to combine aggressive sweeps with good relationships in Miami's worst neighborhoods. Keeping abusive cops off the unit made it easier for inner-city residents to accept the large waves of sweeps conducted by TNT, the former major explains.

"Before you could come work on TNT, you had to go through a carefully designed training program," Flynn says. "One of the first things I would do is roll tape of the show Cops. In one particular scene, a guy puts a handful of drugs in his mouth. The officer cocks a gun against the head of the subject to get him to spit it out. That was a scenario I would never let happen in a TNT operation."

He also had another rule: A cop could not have any excessive-use-of-force complaints in his or her personnel file to make it onto the team. "I wanted officers and supervisors who were aggressive, but not abusive," Flynn says. "There's a difference."

Flynn was promoted to captain in the narcotics bureau one year after heading TNT, but the team continued to flourish after his departure. In its first ten years, according to department stats, TNT made 16,609 arrests and seized more than 14 kilos of crack cocaine, 22 kilos of powder cocaine, 5,764 kilos of marijuana, and one kilo of heroin. They also nabbed $874,198 in cash and 1,155 weapons. More than 160 crackhouses were shut down.

Just as important, the suspects they booked were often bad characters. In that first decade, 54 percent of those arrested had a criminal history, often for murder, sexual battery, assault, and kidnapping.

The unit's success even garnered some Hollywood recognition when Martin Lawrence and Will Smith played TNT members in 1995's Bad Boys and 2003's Bad Boys 2.

Flynn retired from Miami-Dade in 2000 after 27 years on the force, with stints running the narcotics, internal affairs, and special patrol bureaus. By the time he left, he had noticed the department changing TNT's philosophy for the worse. The aggressive sweeps were still there — but the emphasis on good cops was not.

"They began only doing the reverse stings and jump-outs," says Flynn, who is now the police chief in Marietta, Georgia. "They were no longer doing the community policing I put into it."

The changes created a negative perception of TNT — a feeling fueled by some high-profile busts of cops who assisted with TNT takedowns.

In 2006, Det. Daniel Fernandez and another officer were arrested on official misconduct charges for allegedly stealing $970 in marked bills during a sting involving an admitted drug dealer who complained to internal affairs that the two cops had planted drugs on him and taken his cash in a previous bust. Fernandez was convicted of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling and received a 21-month prison sentence last year.

Fernandez, a narcotics bureau detective, had been named Miami-Dade's distinguished officer of the year for coming under fire while helping TNT apprehend an armed, dangerous criminal. He had also received a gold medal of valor and a Purple Heart after he was shot in the back by a suspect he was chasing. But after Fernandez's arrest, state and federal prosecutors dropped more than two dozen cases that the detective had worked on. He was also kept off the witness stand against the man who shot him. Without Fernandez's testimony, Jim Druden was acquitted of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.

Then, two years after Fernandez's arrest, officers Michael king and Antonio Roberts, who assisted TNT execute search warrants and conduct drug sweeps, were among 40 suspects charged with federal racketeering and drug charges. The U.S. Attorney's Office alleges King and Roberts were tipping off drug dealers in Opa-locka about TNT drug sweeps. King pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and is serving a 60-month prison sentence. However, Roberts was acquitted in 2009.

Eric Matheny, a criminal defense attorney who was a Miami-Dade assistant state attorney for two years, says TNT today suffers from a philosophical problem at its core: Officers often have to assume the role of bad guys to do their job effectively.

"It's like the movie Training Day with Denzel Washington," Matheny says, referring to the Oscar-nominated film about a corrupt team of Los Angeles narcotics officers. "They almost have to step outside their roles as policemen and emulate the bad guys... Sometimes they forget that enforcing the law doesn't mean they are above the law."

On December 19, the first day of Santa's Helper, Elizabeth Level was across the street chatting with a neighbor when more than a dozen TNT cops stampeded through the front gate of the home she had bought in 1971 for $16,000. The 87-year-old retiree watched in horror as Det. Dwight Dominguez knocked down her 1-year-old great-granddaughter as he went to grab her grandson Dante. "I've never experienced anything like it," Elizabeth says. "The police were out of control that night."

The stories of the Levels and others snagged during Santa's Helper — who were just stats for TV reporters the night after the operation — illustrate why many people in their neighborhood say TNT busts forge a lack of trust between the area's residents and the undercover detectives prowling the streets.

Elizabeth is a perfect example. She says she wants the streets safe for her grandchildren — but not at the cost of her family living in fear of police. By the end of the day, three of her grandchildren were under arrest: 40-year-old Alexis, charged with cocaine possession; 30-year-old Dante, charged with marijuana possession; and 29-year-old Khalid, charged with obstruction of justice.

"Why not spend some time actually meeting the people who live here? They're out here wasting taxpayers' money putting five people in jail for the same joint," Elizabeth Level says.

She lives on a quiet tree-lined street in a residential neighborhood that would fit perfectly in a Norman Rockwell painting. Built in 1925, her abode is vintage Florida with its stucco façade and weathered wood floors.

Elizabeth made a living as a nurse's aide at Mount Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach for 34 years until she retired in 2006. She has paid off two mortgages on her house and has never been delinquent on her property taxes. During the 40 years she has raised three generations of Levels on NW 52nd Street, she has never been in trouble with the law. She spends her days looking after her 12 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her grandsons Dante and Khalid live nearby.

Dressed in a gray tank top and blue gym shorts on a recent weekday, the Georgia native corrals three of her toddler great-grandchildren into the living room and shakes her head dismissively when asked if her son and his friends were smoking pot the evening of Santa's Helper.

"Look at my yard," she says. "It's littered with cigar butts. These kids are smoking those Black & Milds all the time."

What's more, she says TNT officers were unnecessarily forceful. "They pushed my great-granddaughter to the floor," she says. "She's just a baby. The way they came in here was insulting and disrespectful."

The raid marked the second time in three months that TNT had ripped into her front yard to snatch a family member. Last October 22, while the team was arresting a couple of neighbors for allegedly smoking marijuana, Elizabeth's grandson Khalid was on the front step of the portico.

According to Dets. Jesus Martinez and Alexis Rodriguez, Khalid began mouthing off. He allegedly yelled, "Fuck all you pussies, soft-ass cops." The two officers alleged Khalid then punched and kicked them while resisting arrest for inciting a riot. Before that incident, Khalid had never been arrested for a violent crime. (He has two separate arrests for marijuana and cocaine possession, and a conviction in 2010 for possession of a controlled substance, for which he served 364 days.)

According to Elizabeth, Alexis, and neighbor Bobby Ricky Madison, the two detectives dragged Khalid off the front porch. "Once Khalid was on the sidewalk, the officer slapped him in his face with an open hand repeatedly," Madison says. "Khalid's daughter was crying, 'Why are you hitting my daddy?'" Alexis says Rodriguez knocked Khalid nearly unconscious. "I saw my brother's eyes roll back," she says. "He's lucky he didn't pass out."

Khalid filed a complaint with the Miami-Dade Police Department's internal affairs unit. Because it is still an open investigation, police officials cannot comment about it.

Two months later, the night of Santa's Helper, Khalid found himself in an all-too-similar situation. When the police showed up, he asked his grandmother if the cops had a search warrant. "That's when one of them goes, 'That's him, the one with the mouth,'" Khalid says. "I walked over to the neighbor's house and they followed me." Khalid was arrested for obstruction of justice. According to his arrest report, Khalid shouted, "Fuck the police," impeded a TNT investigation, and refused police orders to leave the scene.

(Nanney declined to comment about the Levels' complaints.)

Alexis also disputed the circumstances of her arrest December 19. According to her arrest report, TNT officers followed her into the house because she was holding a cigarette laced with cocaine. On the bed in her room, Det. Terence White claimed, he found a baggie containing less than a gram of coke.

"That's a bunch of bullshit," counters Alexis (who has two previous convictions for cocaine possession, but she insists she's now clean). She says she was already in her room with her wheelchair-bound daughter when the officers entered the house and arrested her. "I had a broom in my hand because I was cleaning up," she says.

Prosecutors evidently didn't have enough evidence. Four weeks after her arrest, charges were dropped.

The Levels are not alone in their criticism of TNT and Santa's Helper. On day two of the operation, Shenika Rollins was in the living room of the two-bedroom house she rents at 1550 NW 71st St., a few miles north of the Levels' home. "All of a sudden I hear a loud noise outside and police officers yelling," Rollins recalls. "There must have been like 20, 30 officers all over my front lawn. They had my son, son-in-law, and nephew on the ground."

Rollins says she repeatedly asked a Hispanic officer what was going on, but he wouldn't answer. "He told me to come out on the sidewalk and sit down," she says. "Next thing I know, I am in handcuffs."

A Miami Northwestern Senior High School alum, Rollins works as a part-time cashier at a Hess gas station. Nine years ago, she pleaded guilty to one count of grand theft, and in 2009 she served probation on a cocaine possession charge. Still, the 38-year-old single mom says her criminal record doesn't give TNT officers permission to be rude. "I inadvertently slumped against one of the officers," she says. "So he says to me: 'What am I? A fucking leaning post?' Another one told me to shut the fuck up."

Rollins didn't learn that she, along with three relatives and four friends, was being booked for pot possession until officers took her to the police department's Northside district headquarters.

According to the arrest reports, Det. Christopher Polack saw Rollins and her crew sharing a marijuana blunt. "I want them to drug-test me," Rollins says. "It's been four years since I smoked weed."

Operation Santa's Helper was the brainchild of Maj. Charles Nanney, a husky blond veteran who moved up the ranks after serving a stint as a narcotics bureau lieutenant who worked with TNT. (Lt. Jose Gonzalez, who oversaw Santa's Helper, declined to comment.) Four years ago, after then-TNT Det. Raymond Robertson was shot multiple times in front of several children during a firefight near an Opa-locka dope hole, Nanney decided the unit should help neighborhood kids during Christmas. The gesture, he hoped, might win hearts and minds.

"To show the kids we're not an occupying army, but an important part of the community," Nanney says, "we collected and delivered toys to the kids in the complex where Robertson was shot."

It has since become a TNT holiday tradition — but to fit TNT's mission, it's now been coupled with a massive street operation to bust potheads. "I got the idea for the name [Santa's Helper] because we were both helping kids and arresting bad guys prior to Christmas," Nanney says.

The numbers behind the bust, though, raise serious questions about whether Santa's Helper keeps the community safer. What's more, an analysis of the IA records of officers on TNT today paints a picture of a very different unit than the one during Flynn's time in the mid-'90s.

Of the 112 people rounded up during the December 19 sweep, 26 were never jailed, 71 were arrested for holding less than a gram of marijuana, and only three actual drug dealers were busted. Nine of the 112, or less than 10 percent, could be considered career criminals with past arrests for homicide, sexual battery, robbery, and kidnapping.

New Times also examined TNT's 2011 statistics, which show few gains in the War on Drugs during the past decade. In 2001, TNT made 5,255 arrests and seized 101 guns, 1,683 grams of crack cocaine, and 62 pounds of marijuana. Last year, it arrested 5,045 people, confiscated 71 guns, 837 grams of rocks, and 136 pounds of pot.

In other words: If the intent is deterrence, there hardly seems to be less drugs on the streets. Moreover, of the arrests last year, more than half were for misdemeanor pot possession — and only 64 marijuana dealers in all were busted by TNT.

Nanney, though, insists TNT is worth the cost. "We are not targeting the smokers," he says. "We are targeting high crime areas. Most of our children shot in Miami-Dade County have been shot due to turf wars and disputes at drug sale areas."

Some sociologists and criminologists call that kind of police thinking into question, though.

Peter Reuter, a University of Maryland criminal justice professor, says operations such as Santa's Helper do little to stem the tide of drugs on the streets.

"I am mystified by it," Reuter says. "It's not that pot use has gotten worse; it's just that more people are going to jail for it. I can't see any deterrent effects when pot possession charges are usually dismissed at an arraignment hearing. It is hard to justify making so many arrests when the end result is only a couple of days in jail."

Marvin Dunn, a Florida International University sociology professor and community activist, believes MDPD would be better off spending resources on putting more cameras on the streets to catch criminals committing violent crimes.

"The sweeps do nothing to reduce drug activities except to suppress it while the police presence is apparent," Dunn says. "After the cops are gone, it's back to business as usual."

Exacerbating the tension between residents and TNT is the unit's track record of excessive force. New Times has reviewed the personnel files of the 14 officers who participated in Santa's Helper and found they had been investigated by internal affairs a total of 44 times. A majority of the cases were for discourteousness and unprofessionalism, improper searches and seizures, and excessive use of force. In addition, the 14 officers have used force against subjects a combined 83 times.

Only one of those complaints was sustained — against Det. Dwight Dominguez in 2008 for improper police procedure — but the details in the IA files and use-of-force incident reports paint a picture of a unit that often doesn't toe the line when pursuing drug suspects.

Consider what happened to Matthew "Sonny" Stemage on a muggy afternoon last May 12. A 51-year-old recovering cocaine addict with a Fu Manchu mustache and short braids, Stemage steered his beat-up Scwhinn bicycle along Lucy Street near SW Seventh Place in Florida City. He had just left his mother's house, which was located near a known drug den in Homestead that was under surveillance by TNT Det. Joseph Amor. He radioed squad mates Harold Riobe Jr. and Carlos Reyes to take down Stemage, whom he had just allegedly seen exchange money for baggies of crack cocaine.

According to a use-of-force report, Stemage began to resist while Reyes searched his pockets. During the struggle, Reyes, Riobe, and Stemage fell to the ground. Two witnesses claimed both cops repeatedly struck Stemage, who already had one hand cuffed. Riobe (who has been cleared in three IA complaints and 11 use-of-force incidents) then smacked Stemage with his police radio, according to one witness. The officers were cleared of wrongdoing.

Or consider another incident, on January 28, 2011, when Sophia Murray was cruising on her bicycle near NW 46th Street and 23rd Avenue in Miami.

Murray complained she was struck from behind by an unmarked police car in which Riobe was riding shotgun. He and his partner arrested her on three felony charges of tampering with physical evidence and cocaine purchase and possession. According to the arrest report, she was observed buying crack cocaine from a nearby dope hole. Murray alleges Riobe called her a racial slur. He allegedly said, "You black bitch. You thought you did something witty? You are going to jail."

Riobe and his partner denied her accusations. With no independent witnesses, her complaint was not sustained.

Three months later, not far from where Murray was apprehended, Luis Rojas was stopped on his bicycle by TNT Det. Alexis Rodriguez, who has been the subject of nine IA complaints for using excessive force, discourteousness, and improper search and seizure. He's been cleared every time.

A 31-year-old Allapattah resident, Rojas claims Rodriguez punched him in the face repeatedly and then placed him in the bed of an unmarked Ford F-150 pickup driven by the detective's partner, Jesus Martinez. Fearing the cops were taking him somewhere secluded to rough him up more, Rojas began to scream for help. He claims Rodriguez continued to punch him, grabbed him by the throat, and told him to "shut the fuck up."

Rodriguez admitted to striking Rojas when he initially stopped him because he was resisting arrest with violence, but the TNT detective denied choking and punching the bicyclist. Rodriguez alleges Rojas swallowed a baggie of crack cocaine while he was trying to subdue him. With no independent witnesses, the complaint was declared "unfounded." Rojas is awaiting trial for tampering with evidence.

Complaints such as Rojas's, Murray's, and Stemage's are more than just disturbing to the community — they also often lead to cases getting dismissed, says former Miami-Dade prosecutor Eric Matheny.

Take the 73 people arrested for pot possession during the two days of Santa's Helper. More than half of them, 42 defendants, had charges dropped by prosecutors. Two others were acquitted, one by a jury and the other by a judge.

"When they do these huge sweeps, the police are only concerned with getting a high number of arrests," Matheny says. "The end result is a lot of bad searches, inadmissible evidence, and abuse at the hands of TNT cops."

However, Nanney says, the number of complaints against the 14 TNT detectives is not unusual.

"We don't use quotas," he says. "We evaluate and investigate each complaint on its own merits. These officers make a vast majority of arrests against violent, combative bad guys who are sometimes under the influence of drugs."

Dante Level sits on the front step of his mother's portico on the breezy afternoon of January 31. It's been more than a month since TNT dragged him, his brother, and his sister to jail, but they are still fuming — and dealing with the fallout. All three siblings owe serious money — even though they say their cases are bogus — and more important, they now feel unsafe in their grandmother's front yard.

Alexis's cocaine charge was dropped, but she had to pay $500 for bail. Dante was released the next morning after appearing before a judge. He was fined $498 that he doesn't have. Three arrests for marijuana sure won't help him land a decent job. Khalid, a hazel-eyed man with his siblings' names and a family tree tattooed on his right arm, says he owes his bondsman more than $3,000 for his two arrests at the hands of TNT. He says he plans to fight both cases against him.

"Now I will probably have to spend at least another $5,000 to get me a good lawyer," he says. "I have to pay for my freedom now."

His face scrunched into a scowl, Dante wonders why the MDPD doesn't concentrate on more pressing issues in his community. "Why are they spending tax dollars to harass people in their own front yard? Why don't they concentrate on solving the murders that go down in the Pork 'n' Beans projects or Overtown?" he asks. "What are they doing about the people whose identities are getting stolen?"

A couple of neighbors who walked over to talk about TNT nod their heads in agreement. "They should've called it Operation Harass the Neighborhood," one says.

Alexis notes that Miami officers cruise by her mother's house all the time and know the family. "They honk and wave when they pass by," she says. "But not TNT. They have no respect at all for the people who live here."

MDPD Director James Loftus has signaled that he still believes in the unit's work. In order to trim his department's $433 million budget, Loftus in February disbanded several theft task forces, as well as units focused on homeland security, agricultural patrol, and community policing. But Nanney says the department has cut TNT's overtime to zero, which means fewer operations like Santa's Helper. But the team will continue.

"Homicides, robberies, rapes — all those crimes against persons take priority over everything else," Loftus told the Miami Herald.

TNT has kept busy since Santa's Helper. Between the last week in December and the first week in February, the team seized nine firearms from subjects who were initially detained for marijuana possession, Nanney says.

"We have a duty to the citizens to rid the area of violence," he says. "We will continue to do so.

Although TNT hasn't returned to the Level home since December 19, Khalid leaves by 6 p.m. now, which is when the unit begins patrolling the neighborhood.

"All of a sudden, marijuana is more dangerous than crack," he says.

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63 comments
fenderhawk
fenderhawk

Miami Dade has not lost anything in Liberty City or the War on Drugs. North side district is tantamount to a slum in Iraq. The police are doing a fine job despite the fact that our crooked corrupt government spends hundreds of millions on a baseball stadium rather than funding law enforcement. I am outraged that the highlight of your story is the focus on police brutality and harrasment. I wish you'd ride with a Northside District officer and see what they are up against. With just a small squad officers patrolling 5 square miles of crime, crack, shoot outs, prostitution, drug dealers and strippers how do you expect them the police to be unnerved, jittery, scared, and hardcore. Wake up they are not policing Beverly hills or sitting back at your computer dreaming of how police are brutal and searching for the perfect derogatory adjective. Wake up.

None of your business
None of your business

How about allowing the Hells Angel some space for her Freedom of Speech since all of the decorated soldiers I have met stated to me, "I DID IT FOR YOU, JUDY!"

Durtysuth07
Durtysuth07

The police need to do some investigations then make some meaningful and effective arrest instead of harassing poor people for misdemeanors.

Motie77
Motie77 like.author.displayName 1 Like

I find the Miami New times very biased against cops. I agree that there is corruption everywhere, heck didn't we have a newsreporter who got busted the other day? What about that Doctor in Highlands County that treated kids, but instead of treating them, he gave them penal remedies. Or what about our great crooked attorney that sunk 1 Billion dollares out of investors? This last one affected the Miami Hurricanes football team, and its going to be years before there really any good. I don't agree with the cuting of the cargo and other high crimes unit, but you still need units like TNT to bust the low level stuff. The cops that are crooked, well, each one has there day. They all fall, but to outright blast a unit, man this place really is the banna republic.

TNTpigs
TNTpigs

All these nasty pigs trying to defend their "reputation" makes me sick. I know the TNT crew very well and they are a bunch of pigs; talk about corruption and arresting people for no reason. Why don't they document their operations on video? this would clear so many issues and cases would not go to trial. They lie in court, they lie in depos, they lie when they write these fake arrest forms. Every defense attorney in Miami Dade knows how they operate, and to say otherwise is stupid. They are scumbags, they are corrupted and they abuse their power. How about those TNT cops with FB pictures throwing gang signs, smoking blunts....bunch of nasty pigs

Iris Ramirez
Iris Ramirez

I give you credit Major Nanny for acknowledging the fact that Daniel Fernandez was a bad cop! Credit to TNT for not accepting him, because all knew he was trouble. I just wish he had been taken off the street a lot sooner than he was.

Disgusted!
Disgusted!

It's not that the public is afraid to fix problems, nor is it that they do not want to snitch. The reality is that, sadly, the public is having a more difficult time determining "Dope Boyz" from the police. Gone is the day when a young boy could look up to a policeman with respect. Now they look at at a policeman with suspicion Good? or Bad? Yes, there is that percentage of police officers that took the oath, wear the badge with pride and go out there and risk their lives on a daily basis. Sadly, these are the same cops that chose to look the other way when one of their "brothers" or "sisters" chose to tarnish that badge and walk the streets and think they have the right to intimidate and ruin the lives of others.

The Realest
The Realest like.author.displayName 1 Like

When the Dope Boyz.....run your block who do you call.......when they shoot infront of your homes and your families who do you call..................When you see your family members or friends strung out on drugs but dont' want to be a snitch...who do you call................everything criminal in the streets revolves around drugs......so don't hate what you need.......and to answer the question....who do you call.................."Its not the Boy Scouts".......its probably going to be me and my Brothers and Sisters................"T.NT.".........we fix the problems youre afraid of.............................This article is full of incorrect statements or facts......plz Author if you are really about telling the truth get your facts together......noboy in TNT was ever arrested fact one............check your facts........really check it.....alot of people read your newspapers even police officers and their families......(even children) and to have their fathers names printed in such a fashion with incorrect facts and allegations is truly hurtful.....think again about what you wrote.........its takes a Bigger Man to stand up and admit that certain allegations were incorrect in this article. ...........Well to all the people writing negative remarks I understand you may have had negative incidents with Officers in your past but dont look at this article as what TNT represents or what it says we are............

Blackpanther
Blackpanther

Really? I thought we're supposed to call Ghost Busters.

Stacey95962173
Stacey95962173

my classmate's step-mother made $12764 past week. she been working on the internet and moved in a $400300 home. All she did was get blessed and make use of the information reported on this website MakeCash10.comONLY

Stacey95962173
Stacey95962173

my classmate's step-mother made $12764 past week. she been working on the internet and moved in a $400300 home. All she did was get blessed and make use of the information reported on this website

soldier
soldier

Just what we need a bunch of pot heads in jail, i would rather have some real criminals in jail murders,robbers ,rapist and gang member.

allen murphy
allen murphy

lots of people,big corporations to the very rich and poor donate money to the fraternal order of police,this money is used to help the police,but if there is bad officers on the force then we as citizens must pressure their organisation to stop asking for money from us and tell them to do something about the miami dade police force,you see how it worked with the trayvon case,ok my people google the fraternal order of police get their number let them know all donations will stop unless something is done to stop this corrupt police of the TNT,we need good officers in miami we need good cops who will work with the people in the ignored areas of miami,change will never happen unless we act together.

allen murphy
allen murphy

people google fraternal order of police call them the more people call them the better for miami dade TNT will have to answere to the organization this organization collects money from the very rich and big corporations and the not so fortunate as well,citizens send in lots of money help the police pressure the organization,in turn the heat comes down on the cheif of police and the city manager of miami to remove the currupt cops and hire good officers who will work with the public,its obvious the current officers are not wanted in the community.google fraternal order of police call complain that we want better ,everybody must do this now

allen murphy
allen murphy

ok we know the bad,sent all your comments to the fraternal order of police,trust me they are the ones who call us for donations for the police agencys across the nation yes including miami,a big police organization that would not like this news about miamis tnt unit corruption thats www.fraternatorderofpolice.com but we need the good officers we need the good police officers,

Lola
Lola

This article is not only poorly written, it's misleading and inaccurate. The police don't care about harmless people smoking grass. Yes, some people were arrested for marijuana possession, but that's not why the police were there. These neighborhoods are infested with a shit load of crack cocaine and some heroin. Both of which destroy communities and lives. These people sell and use crack in front of children and innocent neighbors. It's disgusting. For those who've never seen the inside of these neighborhoods first hand (and it's safe to say that most New Times readers have not), you'd be more than dismayed by the misery that permeates these neighborhoods. How would you like to be paying a mortgage when your neighbors are selling and/or usiing crack and coke only feet away? These drugs destry the moral fiber of these communites. Women are selling themselves for a hit of crack. Many have lost custody of their children because of their crack addiction. These drugs don't just affect the drug user, they affect their families and community. There are far reaching moral and financial consequences. In many cases, their "low" is jail. They need this low to finally seek sobriety. Until you've seen the inner workings of these dope holes, you really have no idea. There are some people who can't afford to live anywhere else and shouldn't have to live with that crap in their neighborhood.

This was not a war on marijuana. Marijuana doesn't have the same affect on people and neighborhoods as crack. The targets of the investigation didn't have any crack on them at the time of the raid.. plain and simple. So.... Miami New Times readers, go live in those neighborhoods and get back to me... I'd love to hear your opinion once you're in the middle of that hot mess. I've worked with those people in those neighborhoods and I thank my lucky starts each day that I get to go home to a safe, quiet neighborhood many miles away.

Drake Mallard
Drake Mallard

This is the stupidest group of people I've ever worked with who are not legally retarded.

Natalie
Natalie

More like MPD "BLEACH" unit - Bullshit Law Enforcement Asshole Cops Handjob unit - stroking the taxpayers for the full load. Good riddance.

H3939p
H3939p

watch "hood life, volume 3" on you tube. that is exactly what TNT has to deal with.

Ray Castro
Ray Castro

a beefy cop tackles him, knocking down his 1-year-old, who screams in terror.

WOW I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT

Sheeeeet
Sheeeeet

Sitting under a tree "sharing a cigar."......are you fucking serious?

taxpayer
taxpayer

Francisco you forgot this:

Accuracy and standards for factual reportingReporters are expected to be as accurate as possible given the time allotted to story preparation and the space available, and to seek reliable sources.Events with a single eyewitness are reported with attribution. Events with two or more independent eyewitnesses may be reported as fact. Controversial facts are reported with attribution.Independent fact-checking by another employee of the publisher is desirableCorrections are published when errors are discoveredDefendants at trial are treated only as having "allegedly" committed crimes, until conviction, when their crimes are generally reported as fact (unless, that is, there is serious controversy about wrongful conviction).Opinion surveys and statistical information deserve special treatment to communicate in precise terms any conclusions, to contextualize the results, and to specify accuracy, including estimated error and methodological criticism or flaws.

Mainline Fl
Mainline Fl

Francisco there's so much blatant bullshit in this story that even you cannot keep up with it! You start off with 3 upstanding members of society sitting under a tree [sharing] a cigar. Right off the bat you're full of shit. Would love to know how much these citizens have costs us tax payers in the past decade in welfare, unemployment, food stamps, sect 8 housing etc. But enough of that. A couple of pages later their own mom, who appears to be the last gainfully employed individual in the entire family (the obvious blessings of 5 decades of lib/dem progress), freely admits they were busted for pot. Yet only one paragraph later we learn that one of the three was actually busted for cocaine possession. Gee Franky, what are the chances that this guy actually possessed coke bearing in mind that that is what he was actually busted for? BTW I'm not a gung-ho supporter of the police here. There are a lot of bad ones in MD. But if you cannot keep your own story straight on such relevant details perhaps you've eaten a shit sandwich of your own making.

occupytruth
occupytruth

Come on M.N.T. this sounds more like of a pro marijuana story. Yes, they should just legalize marijuana and that would be the end of this topic but for now its illegal. Your story fails to mention the thousands of shootings each year in these neighborhoods and hundreds shot and killed. Sometimes the cops have to resort to low end crimes in order to find other crimes. Note to self; if your stopped for just a joint, let the cops do their jobs chances are you wont end up in a patty wagon but start mouth'n off and giving them a hard time then you will take the ride. Cops want to catch the real criminals not deal with petty crimes instead of being ignorant and thinking every cop is a "Rodney King Cop" help them clean up YOUR neighborhoods. Stop and talk to the officers they are human not robots out to get you.

Mjy003
Mjy003

Corruption in Australia does not make this story any less-true, sorry about your country's misdeeds but I think you miss the point

Aussie Girl :)
Aussie Girl :)

Bigger issues at hand. I'm in Australia and marijuana is just as illegal. How about get over it? I seem to live my life perfectly fine without relying on illicit drugs. But seriously an article trying to demonize the police for excessive force? Read Australian history and THAT is police excessive force. Eg Aboriginal Stolen Genetation (google it), the armed robbery squad in Melbourne that used to randomly shoot suspects (ironic, huh?) and do yourself a favour and download Underbelly (any series proves the point) if you want to know about REAL corruption. Oh and let's not forget the police who impose western law on non English speaking traditionally living remote Aboriginal communities. And all the cowboy cops in the Northern Territory. AND YET I still trust the police, because those examples don't represent ALL coppers.

Wubs
Wubs

I agree with the statements made - this article is biased,  garbage "journalism" siding with and almost supporting criminal activity.  To start, the 3 individuals the author paints as innocent bystanders wrongfully ambushed by police officers enforcing the law (AKA doing their job) are all habitual offenders with criminal records... Extensive criminal records ranging from multiple drug possession charges, to grand theft, to domestic violence. No violent pasts? Wrong again - all 3 have battery charges, including resisting arrest and battery on officers. Help yourselves to their public criminal records on the Miami-Dade Clerk Public Criminal Records website . It is obvious that this house was known for drug use/activity, so who's to say an arrest such as this doesn't stem from a concerned, fed up neighbor calling in a complaint for drug use and criminal behavior in their neighborhood? Are we as a society supposed to let drug users run rampant and engage in criminal behavior while turning a blind eye?  The author is a blatant proponent of marijuana use, and while marijuana is nowadays seen as a lesser threat than other substances on the street, it is still illegal making those who posses it guilty of breaking the law, whether at home or in public.  I find it entertaining that the author attempts to paint a picture of poor, innocent  Mr. Level who now can't get a job b/c of his drug history. He didn't care so much when he was puffing on a joint... a person who smokes marijuana is clearly not seeking employment, at least not traditional employment which requires drug testing. Nice try. I guarantee his unemployment has lead him to a hard life of sitting on his rear, happily collecting WIC and Medicaid for his children, along with cash assistance to supply his habit, which all comes from our tax dollars. Talk to me about wasted tax dollars now...

State all facts before you paint such a hideous picture, Mr. Alvarado. Why don't you mention the good  TNT has accomplished in between your accusations of them terrorizing neighborhoods? How these marijuana arrests you deem so insignificant and petty have lead to the recovery of fugitives, guns,  pounds of marijuana and massive amounts of cocaine, crack, etc being taken off the streets? If you were to look at those stats you would put your foot in your mouth. How about mentioning the commendations and positive recognition for their hard work? Why don't you shed some light on that? Talk about the habitual, violent offenders TNT has put behind bars to protect innocent people (like you and your family, I presume) instead of trashing them. Must be nice to know you're coming home after a long day of writing in a nice coffee shop while these guys go out there and deal with the scum of the earth day in and day out. How about you go on a ride along with them and then talk. I doubt you have the testicles to do that. 

Yes, there are some bad apples and their behavior is inexcusable, but it's unfair to stack them all in the same pile.  It's easy for everyone on here to sit back and call police officers pigs and bacon and all that nonsense, but when the crap hits the fan it's YOU calling THEM for help. When someone breaks into your house or car or robs your mom or God forbid assaults your daughters, it is them you call to protect you and help you.

Acwplayer
Acwplayer

So, every "victim" you have described here was actually breaking the law. This article is a weak attempt by a liberal rag to make a case for legalizing drugs. If you don't like the laws, try to get them changed. That is the beauty of this Country. I'm glad the police are arresting criminals.

Greenlaker
Greenlaker

I love it when cops say "don't like it, change the law" then they use tax payers money and department resources to combat the political activism to do just that. Just have a look at Marc Emery if you don't believe me.

Once they know you're attempting to actually get the law changed, you start getting pulled over more, you get all kinds of code inspectors coming out to visit any property your own, they tap your phones and follow you and your family. Suddenly, the same people who tell you to change the law start issuing public statements against you and your attempts. Law enforcement needs to stay out of politics if they want us to believe they are impartial.

They say change the law but not because they care about the laws on the books. They enjoy beating people up and being able to point their fingers and say "look at the bad guys." If orange juice was outlawed tomorrow, there would be 1000 cops all looking to kick the ass of every "juice head" they could find.

Don't like it? Change the law. Try to change the law and we will do everything in our power to fuck you over.

espn
espn

Keep smoking weed, Greenlaker. Your paranoia is just jumping at me off the computer screen. Phonetapping, code inspectors, more traffic stops...give me a break.

JOE
JOE

Its funny how they speak of these nice guys just hanging out doing nothing wrong right...WRONG they were smoking weed illegal!! in front of kids right ... why would you even right an article about this what a waste of time. Criminals will always talk bad about the police because the police put them in jail for doing the wrong thing!!! Awesome job New times >> lets report on more important thing instead of giving these loser criminals the time of day. trust me if you do the right thing like the rest of us law abiding citizes you wont have a unit like TNT on your door steps. I dont smoke weed in my lawn nor do i sell crack therefor TNT wont be at my house anytime soon. and no im not a cop just someone who thinks right is right and wrong is wrong.

Greenlaker
Greenlaker

In my experience the dangers of marijuana stem from the laws regarding it, not from its use.

I'm not a criminal but I don't trust the police because of all the criminal shit I've seen them do.

Wubs
Wubs

I agree with the statements made above - this article is biased,  garbage "journalism" siding with and almost supporting criminal activity.  To start, the 3 individuals the author paints as innocent bystanders wrongfully ambushed by police officers enforcing the law (AKA doing their job) are all habitual offenders with criminal records... Extensive criminal records ranging from multiple drug possession charges, to grand theft, to domestic violence. No violent pasts? Wrong again - all 3 have battery charges, including resisting arrest and battery on officers. Help yourselves to their public criminal records at http://www2.miami-dadeclerk.co... . It is obvious that this house was known for drug use/activity, so who's to say an arrest such as this doesn't stem from a concerned, fed up neighbor calling in a complaint for drug use and criminal behavior in their neighborhood? Are we as a society supposed to let drug users run rampant and engage in criminal behavior while turning a blind eye?  It seems to me the author is a proponent of marijuana use, and while marijuana is nowadays seen as a lesser threat than other substances on the street, it is still illegal making those who posses it guilty of breaking the law (home or in public.) While we're on the subject, I find it entertaining that the author attempts to paint a picture of poor, innocent  Mr. Level who now can't get a job b/c of his drug history. He didn't care so much when he was puffing on a joint... a person who smokes marijuana is clearly not seeking employment, at least not traditional employment which requires drug testing. Nice try. I guarantee his unemployment has lead him to a hard life of happily collecting WIC and Medicaid for his children, along with cash assistance to supply his habit, which all comes from our tax dollars - so those of you complaining about wasting tax payers' money on police doing their jobs can Cry me a river!

State all facts before you paint such a hideous picture, Mr. Alvarado. Why don't you mention the good  TNT has accomplished in between your accusations of them terrorizing neighborhoods? How these marijuana arrests you deem so insignificant and petty have lead to the recovery of fugitives, guns,  pounds of marijuana and massive amounts of cocaine, crack, etc being taken off the streets? How about mentioning the commendations and positive recognition for their hard work? Why don't you shed some light on that? Talk about the habitual, violent offenders TNT has put behind bars to protect innocent people (like you and your family, I presume) instead of talking about how wrong it is to give gifts to kids who may have not had a gift on Christmas if not for those horrible officers you freely criticize and defame in your article. Shame on you. 

Yes, there are some bad apples and their behavior is inexcusable, but it's unfair to stack them all in the same pile.  It's easy for everyone on here to sit back and call police officers pigs and bacon and all that jazz, but when the crap hits the fan it's YOU calling THEM for help. When someone breaks into your house or car or robs your mom or God forbid assaults your daughters, it is them you call to protect you and help you. 

Anthony
Anthony

Wow, what a crazy article. I don't know the facts behind the case mentioned in this article but I have had a couple of run in with TNT over the years. My family owns a business in Opa-locka and has for 35 years. Unfortunately the neighborhood where we are located has become drug and crime infestide. I have always been happy to see the police in the neighborhood taking enforcement action against these thugs, especially TNT. The article says they wear gray uniforms but in my neighborhood they wear brown. I haven't seen them in gray.

Anyway, back to my run ins with them. On 2 occasions I have been stopped leaving my business which forces me to drive through a pretty nasty drug area. The TNT officers that stopped me advised me that they were conducting an investigation. I was polite and cooperated fully with the officers. After about 10 min or so they said it was ok and I was free to go. Yes an inconvence but I am happy they were doing there job. The second time a Sergeant responded and even apologized for the mistake another officer had actually stopped the vehicle they were looking for on another block.

Overall as a business owner I'm glad to see them. We have a sever Crack problem here and TNT takes care of business. But if it was people smoking weed I would want them arrested too. People love to think weed is ok but it's still illegal. Until its not GO GET THEM TNT!

Greenlaker
Greenlaker

So the second weed is not illegal you suddenly have no problem with it?

I guess Rosa Parks deserved to be arrested because she broke the law back before we let "the colored" sit up in the front of the bus?

Lou
Lou

Drugwar is an epic failure it is time to end this abuse of power nationwide! Its just not working and it is insane to keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results!

Tina
Tina

Its funny how fake reporters create a fake story and call it jounalism lying in their story

Realreporter
Realreporter

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Journalists should:— Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.— Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.— Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.— Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.— Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.— Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects or victims of sex crimes.— Be judicious about naming criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.— Balance a criminal suspect’s fair trial rights with the public’s right to be informed.________________________________________Act IndependentlyJournalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public's right to know.

Journalists should:—Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.— Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.— Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.— Disclose unavoidable conflicts.— Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.— Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.— Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid bidding for news. ________________________________________Be AccountableJournalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.

Journalists should:— Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct.— Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.— Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.— Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media.— Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.________________________________________The SPJ Code of Ethics is voluntarily embraced by thousands of writers, editors and other news professionals. The present version of the code was adopted by the 1996 SPJ National Convention, after months of study and debate among the Society's members.

Charles___Darwin
Charles___Darwin

MDPD has been doing a good job . The "low level criminals" that this article glorifies are the ones that degrade the quality of life in these neighborhoods.

Would open dope dealing and drug using be allowed in Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay,etc? So why should it be allowed in the poorer neighborhoods. The law-abiding citizens of the poorer neighborhoods deserve to live in a crime-free environment also.

Pro police
Pro police

I still can't believe that any newspaper would publish this trash. The writer of this article is obviously poorly informed and a skilled LIAR. The members of TNT work the most dangerous streets in Miami-Dade county everyday. They deal with muderers, rapist, robbers, and a plethora of violent criminals daily, all of which buy or sell narcotics. They do what most(especially the writer of this article) are too scared to do. It's easy to hide behind a bunch of lies in an article just like the coward you are, but these MDPD officers risk their necks daily in order to make all these complainers feel safe at night and now they are doing it for about 20% less pay. You should be grateful that unit such as TNT exist, because that's one more shield between criminal scumbags and your nicely manicured backyard.

SOBE50
SOBE50

LIBERTY CITY'S TRUST ?

Liberty City residents never had any TRUST in the MIAMI POLICE ...

You can't lose what you never had ...

A little too much dramatic license Francisco ...

Besides one could ask ... What's new ? ... these actions play out everyday in Liberty City

Guess you must be working for a Pulitzer ...

sense is not common
sense is not common

Obviously if grandma's angels were arrested for cocaine possession and marijuana they weren't smoking black and milds!!! It wasn't four people arrested for one joint if there was a lso cocaine. Where do we draw the line? It's just weed? It's just cocaine? It's just possession of a firearm? It's just a drive-by shooting?

Public pretender
Public pretender

Well I've worked with the PD office as well as defense attorneys and your officers are so desperate they ghve to break the law to get cases filled in court by procecutor shopping ... Det Breso and his group are using Ci and telling the prosecutors that they get anonymous tips so as not to have the scrutiny or validity of their cases reviewed So as ussual is the juice worth the squeeze if you have to lie cheat and steal to get your job done Rebut that Major

Ray
Ray

TNT is how you walk back to the dealer's house and his dealer's house etc. In 70 years of narcotics enforcement the only more effective methods are electronic surveillance and U/Cs and long term physical surveillance. Both more expensive and employed past the 1/4 key level.

seep
seep

There is yet one more effective method: legalization. That is the reason we don't have alcohol smuggling gangs any more.

Wubs
Wubs

I agree with the statements made above - this article is biased,  garbage "journalism" siding with and almost supporting criminal activity.  To start, the 3 individuals the author paints as innocent bystanders wrongfully ambushed by police officers enforcing the law (AKA doing their job) are all habitual offenders with criminal records... Extensive criminal records ranging from multiple drug possession charges, to grand theft, to domestic violence. No violent pasts? Wrong again - all 3 have battery charges, including resisting arrest and battery on officers. Help yourselves to their public criminal records at http://www2.miami-dadeclerk.co... . It is obvious that this house was known for drug use/activity, so who's to say an arrest such as this doesn't stem from a concerned, fed up neighbor calling in a complaint for drug use and criminal behavior in their neighborhood? Are we as a society supposed to let drug users run rampant and engage in criminal behavior while turning a blind eye?  It seems to me the author is a proponent of marijuana use, and while marijuana is nowadays seen as a lesser threat than other substances on the street, it is still illegal making those who posses it guilty of breaking the law (home or in public.) While we're on the subject, I find it entertaining that the author attempts to paint a picture of poor, innocent  Mr. Level who now can't get a job b/c of his drug history. He didn't care so much when he was puffing on a joint... a person who smokes marijuana is clearly not seeking employment, at least not traditional employment which requires drug testing. Nice try. I guarantee his unemployment has lead him to a hard life of happily collecting WIC and Medicaid for his children, along with cash assistance to supply his habit, which all comes from our tax dollars. Cry me a river!

State all facts before you paint such a hideous picture, Mr. Alvarado. Why don't you mention the good  TNT has accomplished in between your accusations of them terrorizing neighborhoods? How these marijuana arrests you deem so insignificant and petty have lead to the recovery of fugitives, guns,  pounds of marijuana and massive amounts of cocaine, crack, etc being taken off the streets? How about mentioning the commendations and positive recognition for their hard work? Why don't you shed some light on that? Talk about the habitual, violent offenders TNT has put behind bars to protect innocent people (like you and your family, I presume) instead of talking about how wrong it is to give gifts to kids who may have not had a gift on Christmas if not for those horrible officers you freely criticize and defame in your article. Shame on you. 

Yes, there are some bad apples and their behavior is inexcusable, but it's unfair to stack them all in the same pile.  It's easy for everyone on here to sit back and call police officers pigs and bacon and all that jazz, but when the crap hits the fan it's YOU calling THEM for help. When someone breaks into your house or car or robs your mom or God forbid assaults your daughters, it is them you call to protect you and help you. 

10-8
10-8

This is an awful, biased attempt at journalism. Anyone with an understanding of the 4th Amendment knows that in order to enter a structure and arrest individuals, you need either probable cause or a search warrant. That said, when TNT entered Grandma Level's home to arrest her angels, they were obviously operating off of previous intelligence. Your overall criticism of the war on drugs is that offenders get out of jail quickly. While that is true, that is not an indictment of the Miami Dade Police Department, but instead of our judicial system. The entirety of your article has nothing to do with the inadequacies of MDPD. Law enforcement is given to task of ENFORCING THE FLORIDA STATUTES. TNT did that. Whatever happens beyond that is up to the State Attorney.

I can't believe the New Times published such trash. If you disagree with our nation's drug laws, so be it. To indict the legitimate and proactive activities of MDPD for the sake of pushing your ideological agenda is unprofessional and shameful.

Bebep
Bebep

Yup, taking people off the streets for a couple hours for smoking a joint.

I would like my taxes back.

Wubs
Wubs

I want my taxes back - from their Medicaid, cash assistance and WIC they are all collecting bc they can't get job bc they choose to smoke weed and live a lazy shameless lifestyle which we are paying for. I bet you won't want your taxes back when your neighbors are being loud/smoking pot/acting crazy in your neighborhood and you're the one calling the cops to fix the problem

Wubs
Wubs

Congratualtions on being a pot smoker and working for a place that isn't drug testing you randomly and probably didn't test you to hire you. At least you're working so no hate at all.The dumbass in the article isn't too concerned about getting a job if he's sitting around puffing on a joint, what pisses me off is the picture the author tries to paint like all odds are now against him b/c of this drug charge. No one made him smoke, he's not a victim, he made a choice and he's suffering consequences. Maybe he should apply where you work...

To clarify about people acting crazy - Did you know that a lot of the intel received by MDPD's TNT unit and other units that operate like this come from Crimestopper's tipline? People call in and report suspicious drug activity, ruckus, etc from a certain location, the officers then follow through on the tips and start their investigation. I'm not saying smoking pot makes you crazy, I'm saying a neighbor may have called it in b/c they are sick of the pot smoking, drinking, loudness, whatever it is and that's why PO's go out and do what they have to do. If you have little ones and your neighbors were out selling dope or doing drugs and your kid was outside playing I don't think you would want them to be out there around all that mess, so then TNT would be the ones to come to your neighborhood and try to put a stop to that activity after you file a complaint. It may just be smoking a joint but with that come more problems that neighrbors may not want - guns, more drugs, etc. Plus, as I said, a petty arrest for a joint may lead to the recovery of a gun, a fugitive, etc.

Bebep
Bebep

I smoke every day and have a full time job, so lets not start generalizing stupid shit here.

If I call the cops because my neighbors are smoking pot and acting crazy (are you still watching Reefer Madness propaganda or something?) they will not be sending a task force designed to take down drug trafficking. They will send a regular police officer, that I'm happy to pay for with my taxes.

What I'm not happy to pay for is a law enforcement team padding numbers and pretending to be stopping crime when all they did was put a bunch of people in jail for a couple of hours for smoking a joint.

 
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