Whistle-blowing Miami-Dade Police officer Frank Adams --who recently came forward with a litany of allegations of malfeasance in his department
-- has been sanctioned by the MDPD for not reporting a several-cop beatdown of a civilian immediately after he witnessed it.
In other news, the MDPD denies that the beatdown ever occurred.
Step through the looking glass, Alice.
Our story begins near 4 a.m. on September 22, 2002. That's when Brownsville resident Henry Lee Gaines was arrested in front of his home. Three Miami-Dade officers claim that Gaines was pulled over for a wrong car tag and then went Hulk on their asses.
They say the five-foot-nine racetrack chef put a cop on his shoulder, walked up a flight of stairs, and hurled him to the ground. And they say he grabbed Frank Adams by the uniform shirt and repeatedly punched him in the face, knocking him down and injuring Adams' hand.
But Gaines says that he was viciously beaten by the officers. So does Adams, who claims his hand injury came when another cop-- Luis Torres-- knocked him over trying to kick Gaines in the head.
Two years later, upon Gaines' release after serving much of a 364-day sentence stemming from the felony battery on a police officer, Adams showed up at his door, urging him to file an abuse complaint against the other cops.
Gaines did, and this June he received a letter from the department's Professional Compliance Bureau (PCB) informing him that his complaint had been sustained. Adams was with a New Times reporter when Gaines showed him the letter. "That's great news!" boomed Adams. "That makes it all worth it!"
Not so much. We ordered the complaint report and have just received it after several weeks of waiting. All of Gaines' allegations of abuse against the officers were "not sustained" for lack of an "independent witness."
The one sustained complaint, tacked on by the PCB, is against Adams. The finding:
An employee who has information concerning illegal actions, dereliction of duty, malfeasance, misfeasance, or unprofessional conduct by another employee shall report the offense to an immediate supervisor or the Professional Compliance Bureau. Officer Adams failed to properly report the allegation to an immediate supervisor or the Professional Compliance Bureau.
Adams claims that he did immediately report the beatdown to MDPD Director Robert Parker and Sergeant Jay Gore, but both of them "denied having knowledge of Officer Adams' allegations" when questioned by the PCB.
The crux of the PCB's argument is that when Adams spoke to Internal Affairs Investigator Robert Morales about other complaints on October 25, 2004, he didn't mention the Gaines beatdown. Sgt. Morales told the PCB that "he questioned Officer Adams extensively and specifically asked him if he had any knowledge of any other incidents involving him or other Miami-Dade police officers that may be investigated in an administrative or criminal forum."
According to an official transcript, the closest thing to that question asked by Morales on that day was this, coming near the end of the rather contentious conversation: "And that's basically everything you have at this point?"
What is not in dispute is that in November 2004, Adams took his allegations to Assistant State Attorney Johnette Hardiman. He told Hardiman that "he sustained his injuries after he attempted to protect Mr. Gaines from being kicked and struck by the officers", the same account he maintains today.
Though the infraction will be permanently displayed in Adams' personnel jacket, there will be no disciplinary action taken. That may have something to do with the fact that you can get a migraine by trying to figure out what he did wrong.
It's worth noting that last year, Adams was suspended for five days for conducting witness interviews of what he claimed was a false arrest by a MDPD colleague of a man with a box-cutter on his own front lawn.
The MDPD, which refused to comment on our first story concerning Adams, did not respond to our suggestion that he is being punished for whistleblowing.
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Adams, meanwhile, is now working in the "property room", which any fan of The Wire knows is an indication that he is not in his major's good graces right now. When Riptide told him that the one sustained charge in Gaines' complaint was against him, he just started laughing. "I'm not surprised," he said. "They're building their case against me."
We've embedded the PCB memo below.