Police Union Smears Woman Who Posted Video of Police Beating on Facebook
After video surfaced last night of a Miami police officer beating a man in handcuffs, the Miami Order of the Fraternal Police tried to smear the woman who originally posted the video on her Facebook page. Union President Javier Ortiz blasted out a press release picking images from Smith's Facebook page despite the fact that Smith herself isn't accused of a crime.
"As everyone is aware, social media has placed a very negative tone on law enforcement nationwide. On August 13th, there was a video that was posted in social media that shows an encounter with Miami Police Officers. While the video may seem concerning to some, the FOP is confident that when everything is analyzed with the totality of the circumstance, it will be concluded that the police officer was doing what he is supposed to be doing: Protecting our Community," wrote Oritz.
"What is extremely concerning is that the poster of this video (aka Facebook Marilyn Smith) has photographs of her with young men armed with handguns. It seems that no one cares to address this. Social media has focused so much on #blacklifematters [sic] /alllifematters campaigns, yet nobody targets the root of the problem our community faces today."
"If the police officer has done something not within policy, it must be corrected. With that said, there is a much more serious message by this video poster. Our community has accepted behavior that motivates violence in our younger generation. It's time for the community to take a stand against this reckless behavior and stop the violence. As the saying goes: It takes a village to raise a child. Guns don't belong in the hands of children. It is the responsibility of our stakeholders that live in our community to stop that from occurring in the first place."
Ortiz also attached purported screenshots from Smith's Facebook page. Smith has taken her Facebook down from public view, so New Times can't confirm the authenticity or context of the screenshots.
The officer involved in the incident, which appears to show him punching a handcuffed suspect who had already been placed in the back of a police car, has been suspended while the department investigates the case.
Smith herself says that she was threatened by officers with arrest if she didn't stop recording the incident even though it is perfectly legal to record police actions in public.
“That was the officer trying to grab my phone,” Smith told Local 10. “He snatched my arm, so I snatched back.”
Some Twitter users are outraged at Ortiz's attempt to misdirect the discourse.
Shame on the Miami Fraternity Order of police shaming the the person & now blaming the community... Morally reprehensible & divisive— Moneymakers305 (@miamivice3564) August 14, 2015
Miami police union is upset that someone posted pics that glorify violence. Here's how they decorated their website. pic.twitter.com/HrzawZxqWf— Brad Heath (@bradheath) August 14, 2015
Ortiz is no stranger to controversial statements, and while outrage over police violence against African-Americans has spread across America over the past year, Ortiz has used his position to sound off repeatedly.
When Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa said he believed that the New York City cop who killed Eric Garner, a father who was accused of trying to sell loose cigarettes, should be indicted on federal civil rights charges, Ortiz angrily blasted the chief in a press release. He claimed that Orosa's comments have "absolutely no basis" and "do not reflect the views" of Miami cops.
Ortiz also was very vocal in support of Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, and urged his Facebook followers to like a controversial Facebook page supporting Wilson and donate to a fund for Wilson.
Ortiz also regularly takes shots at city leaders and police leadership. Earlier this year he accused assistant chief of police Anita Najiy, a black woman, of disrespecting America by not placing her hand over heart during the Pledge of Allegiance and then publicly spread rumors that he had heard that Najiy was Muslim.
When city of Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez was running for mayor in 2013, he released a campaign statement offering prayers for the family of slain teenager Israel Hernandez. Hernandez died after being chased down by Miami Beach police for spray painting an abandoned building. An officer deployed a stun gun, and Hernandez died shortly after.
"No one can take responsibility for Israel's death except himself," wrote Ortiz in his response.
Ortiz, a police lieutenant, is elected by his fellow officers.
In 2013, Ortiz was sued by an Ultra Music Festival goer for allegedly beating him over a glowstick. The man says that Ortiz and two other officers beat, choked, and tasered him multiple times. He also claimed that Ortiz lied in an internal report. Of the three officers involved, Ortiz is the only officer still with the force. The other two involved pleaded guilty to extortion charges stemming from an unrelated FBI investigation.
Ortiz has several complaints on his record, including one from current NFL player and former University of Miami player Jonathan Vilma. Back in 2008, a pregnant school teacher accused Ortiz and other officers of roughing her up during a routine traffic stop while her young child was in the car. In another case back in April 2011 he emailed a photograph of an African-American man killed by police to fellow officers, except the
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