In early August, Miami-Dade Police made a big hullabaloo about busting four county employees who allegedly pocketed about $3,100 in entrance fees to Amelia Earhart Park in Hialeah. Well, now it turns out the bigger thieves were actually the detectives investigating Jamal Sheffield, Charles Simons, Camilo Felipe and Manuel Valdes.
Investigators from the public corruption unit involved in the probe made $58,288 by working 934 overtime hours snooping on the four park employees between February and May, according to El Nuevo Herald.
The revelation comes on the heels of widespread criticism against Miami-Dade Police Director J.D. Patterson and Mayor Carlos Gimenez that they broke up the public corruption unit to stifle ongoing high-profile investigations, like the absentee ballot fraud case against Hialeah ballot broker Deisy Cabrera, who allegedly worked on hizzoner's reelection campaign last year.
Patterson told El Nuevo Herald it was the overtime abuse during the Amelia Earhart Park investigation that led him to reassign the unit's 20 officers to other crime units. "This case has raised concerns," he told El Nuevo Herald on Tuesday. "And I say concerns because there was a significant investment of resources for such a small case."
According to the report, the public corruption unit had more overtime than the rest of the police department. The top brass initiated an internal investigation into the hours worked in the Amelia Earhart based on an anonymous complaint. Patterson and his deputy director Juan Perez forwarded their findings to the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, which surprisingly concluded there was not enough evidence to criminally charge the cops who abused their overtime.
As many as 26 Miami-Dade cops investigated the four Amelia Earhart employees. Talk about building an air-tight case. The lead detective, Eduardo Torga, and his supervisor Sgt. Kely Sullivan, logged a combined 277 overtime hours. Torga spent 59 of those hours watching surveillance videos. Banana Republican can only imagine how many bags of popcorn he went through.
Follow Francisco Alvarado on Twitter: @thefrankness.