For two years, Miguel Exposito was the head honcho at the Miami Police Department. They were jolly times for the Magic City's muckrakers, who made an easy living as Exposito butted heads with Mayor Tomas Regalado and produced a too-crazy-to-be-true litany of scandals and shootings. When he was fired in September, Riptide poured out some whiskey for Expo.
Today, the ex-jefe is in Miami-Dade Court, where he'll petition a panel of judges to reinstate him as chief. Much as it pains us to say so, that would be a historically terrible idea. Let's recall why:
Under Exposito's leadership, Miami cops shot and killed seven black men in the city. A number of those killed were unarmed, and the spree was so pronounced that the U.S. Justice Department opened an investigation in November. The feds note that the NYPD averaged one fatal shooting per 4,313 officers in 2010; Expo's force's average? One deadly shooting per 220 cops.
About those cops doing the shooting: One of them, a veteran named Roberto Martinez who pulled the trigger in two of the fatal shootings, was later arrested for trying to arrange a shipment of 100,000 stolen Bluetooth headsets. Another veteran cop, Charley Braynen, was arrested soon afterward for trading in fake police reports and protecting shipments of stolen property. Other officers were caught on tape beating partiers during Coconut Grove's Halloween parties and failing to control a rave party gone out of control on Biscayne Boulevard.
Reality show scandals
If there's one thing an embattled police chief really should avoid, it's allowing a reality TV crew into his department with cameras rolling. That's exactly what Exposito did, and a leaked promo captured him calling criminals "predators" and his cops talking about "hunting" perps during the city's worst string of police shootings in decades.
State attorney clashes
It's a fair bet that Exposito and State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle haven't been meeting up for afternoon tea since his ouster. Exposito's term started with a botched corruption bust that left Rundle fuming that arrests were made without prosecutors' OK; he later leaked a chain of angry emails exchanged with the top prosecutor.
There's no question why a reality TV producer OK'd a show centered on Expo -- his department was a nonstop source of titillating drama. He reported the mayor to the FBI! He and Regalado almost came to blows in a park full of TV cameras! His assistant chief is accused of nepotism! He's accused the mayor of trying to bribe him with $400,000!
Of course, the judges hearing Expo's case today won't get to consider all the real-world reasons to keep him as far away as possible from the chief's office. They'll be hearing his argument that City Manager Johnny Martinez cooked up a bogus reason for firing him.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
Martinez claimed the chief disobeyed direct orders by failing to restructure the department to reduce overtime and by demoting three officers after being told not to do so.
Exposito will argue his firing was politically motivated.