Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 8:32 a.m.
"Embattled" isn't nearly a strong enough adjective for Miami Police jefe Miguel Exposito these days, so we'll just have to invent a new one: em-blitzkrieged. Because it's only Tuesday and Exposito's job security this week looks as tenuous as Hosni Mubarak's.
Just since Friday, these things have happened: Another Miami cop was arrested, an online site created by his assistant chief's son raised nepotism charges, a van-full of officers tossed him overboard on TV and a former FBI chief has been hired to "assess" his department. Oy!
The newest round of trouble for the chief -- who is feuding with the mayor after his force has killed six black suspects since last summer and endured a raft of scandals -- started on Friday, soon after he released an embarrassing chain of angry emails with State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.
Hours later, a recently resigned Miami cop was arrested by federal agents and charged with extortion. Charley Braynen, who resigned in late September after 14 years at MPD, allegedly traded fake police reports for goods
and protected stolen shipments.
Then on Sunday, a squad of officers threw their boss under the bus on WSVN
. Speaking anonymously, they claim Exposito is heading witch-hunts against anyone he sees as an enemy. Officers also claimed a deputy chief changed a police report to protect his daughter.
"Officers are afraid. Absolutely I'm scared. I'm scared for my not safety, because they're not going to hurt me physically, but they can hurt my career," one cop told the station
. "I think it's corrupt from the top.
This morning brought a final one-two sucker punch of ominous news.
Exposito's assistant chief, Richard Blom, has had to defend his son Aaron's work building a training website
featured prominently on the department's home page. He says the 27-year-old programmer made the site for free, but others smell nepotism.
And the most worrying sign of all for Exposito: City Manager Tony Crapp Jr. announced this morning
that a former FBI agent in charge of Miami has been hired to "evaluate the police department from top to bottom."
Paul Phillip starts his review today. Expect a scene out of Office Space, with unsmiling meetings in stuffy conference rooms and the dreaded question: "So what exactly would you say it is that you do around here?"