Investigative television reporter Mike Kirsch wants Miami-Dade Police Director Bobby Parker's head on a stick. The former CBS 4 investigative reporter sent the attached letter to Miami New Times alleging Parker made a false statement to Miami-Dade County commissioners on March 15 of last year.
Kirsch sent the correspondence the same day the South Florida Chapter of Professional Journalists requested the Miami-Dade Police Department open an inquiry into Kirsch's arrest this past February for allegedly assualting a police officer during a traffic stop. The charge was eventually dropped, but he still faces a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest without violence. Cmdr. Linda O'Brien said Parker was out of town and could not be reached for comment. However, she denied Kirsch's allegation. "The director does not lie to the commission in any shape or form," she said. -- Francisco Alvarado
Kirsch's Letter to the Editor:
Is the Miami Dade Police Director above the Law?
The Director of the Miami Dade Police Department, a public servant, sworn under oath to uphold the law, has knowingly made a false statement during an official government proceeding, and has yet to be investigated.
According to Florida statute 838.24: “A public servant who under oath in an official proceeding makes a false statement, which he or she does not believe to be true, in regard to any material matter that relates to his or her duties or actions as a public servant, commits a felony of the second degree.”
It happened at a Miami Dade County Commission committee hearing on March 15, 2006.
Miami Dade Police Director Robert L. Parker was asked to explain why his police department failed to make complaint forms available to the public – complaint forms on which citizens could write down their complaints about police misconduct, giving them a paper trail to ensure their complaints are properly documented and investigated.
Parker’s failure to issue citizens complaint forms was exposed in a news report by CBS4 investigative reporter Mike Kirsch, in which one of Parker’s police officers is recorded on hidden camera telling an undercover investigator posing as a citizen, “We don’t hand out forms for you to complain on.” Parker himself is featured in Kirsch’s report saying he does not issue citizens complaint forms.
At the March 15, 2006 public hearing, Parker tells his elected bosses Kirsch’s report “couldn’t be the farthest thing from the truth.”
“As I explained to Mr. Kirsch…the fact is that we do have a complaint form,” Parker said.
“The reporter was given the form.”
But Jordan tells Parker she made her own inquiry and discovered there was no complaint form available to the public. She asks Parker to show her the form.
“At the time when I made my inquiry about whether or not we had a form in place, I got the impression we did not.”
“That’s my point, the media gave that impression.”
“No. I didn’t inquire from the media. I did not inquire from the media. So you’re telling me now that we do have… and I’m disappointed director that you did not get with me prior to this item appearing on the agenda to show me that these things were in place. Because had you done that then I would have withdrawn the item.”
“Commissioner, I apologize for that, however, when the inquiry was made (by one of Jordan’s aides before the hearing) I did inform the individual making the inquiry that we had the form.”
At the conclusion of the hearing reporter Mike Kirsch told Parker, “Sir, you just lied to these Commissioners.”
Kirsch told Parker – in Commissioner Jordan’s presence – that he’d just made a false statement as a sworn law enforcement officer during an official proceeding.
Parker stormed off into a back room with Commissioner Jordan.
Two days later, on March 17th, 2006, Parker ordered citizen complaint forms for the public, documented and confirmed via email by Miami Dade Police Department PIO Commander Linda O’Brien.
Kirsch notified the Florida Department of Law Enforcement about Parker’s false statement.
FDLE, citing state law on investigations of the police, said it cannot investigate Parker unless his own police department requests FDLE to investigate, or unless County Commissioners or the Florida Governor requests an investigation.
FDLE recently said it has yet to receive an official request to investigate Parker and his statement.
What message does this send to citizens expecting a fair and honest investigation of alleged police misconduct?
What message does this send to Parker’s police officers sworn to uphold the law while ticketing and arresting citizens in Miami Dade County?
Is the Director of the Miami Dade Police Department above the law?
Director Parker told Commissioner Jordan his department “had the form.”
It did not.
Parker’s false statements can be seen and heard at the following link on the Miami Dade County government web site:
The Parker hearing begins at 01:49:17 on the tape.
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Parker’s statement to Jordan in which he says his department “had the form” is at 02:04:13 on the tape.
Journalist, Miami Dade County