Manuel Moraga, Miami Beach Police Officer Fired After ATV Crash, Wins Job Back
Manuel Moraga, a Miami Beach police officer who was fired after that now infamous ATV police crash on Fourth of July weekend of 2011, has won his job back. Moraga was not directly involved in the crash, but was supposed to be supervising the two officers who were. Instead he decided to go home early only to show up at an off duty gig a few hours later.
Miami Beach officer Derick Kuilan was supposed to be serving and protecting Saturday July 2nd, 2011. Instead he ended up at the Clevelander living it up with a bunch of bachelorette party revelers. He ended up drinking and decided to take one of the woman on an impromptu late night ATV ride along South Beach. The ATV ended up striking a couple who were lying in the sound.
Moraga was supposed to be supervising Kuilan and Rolando Gutierrez, another officer at the party (who, by the way, is married to Elian Gonzalez's cousin). Instead he allegedly ignored radio calls, and decided to go home a few hours early. He did show up a few hours later for an off-duty shift at a jewelry store though. After an investigation, the force decided to fire him.
According to The Miami Herald, he has now won his job back through an independent arbitrator.
Moraga claimed he was simply overwhelmed that night by a situation that was beyond his control. He claims the force saddled him with tons of paper work that night, and then left him as the only sergeant covering the middle and north districts after another had called in sick. He had also received permission to leave early.
The arbitrator ruled he will should be giving his job back and is also owed back pay. The department will not appeal the ruling.
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