Police

Charges Dropped Against NFL Player After Cops Can't Back Up Javier Ortiz's Story

Charges Dropped Against NFL Player After Cops Can't Back Up Javier Ortiz's Story
Jeffrey Beall via Wikimedia Commons / City of Miami Police

When NFL wide receiver Robby Anderson was arrested for allegedly shoving a Miami cop at Rolling Loud in May 2017, the sports world freaked out and labeled Anderson a player with "character problems."

But New Times warned the public not to rush to judgment too quickly, because the arresting officer whom Anderson allegedly shoved was none other than Javier Ortiz, Miami's outspoken former police union president, who has been repeatedly accused of perjury, lying on arrest forms, and using excessive force.

It sure looks like Ortiz has done it again: According to a close-out memo from the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, prosecutors have dropped felony charges against Anderson for resisting arrest with violence. The prosecutors say they had no case because the other cops on the scene couldn't back up Ortiz's story that Anderson had shoved him first.

Anderson was arrested outside Bayfront Park during the 2017 hip-hop festival Rolling Loud. He had backstage passes, but Ortiz claimed the NFL wide receiver became irate when he was denied entry. When Ortiz ordered Anderson to get down on the ground, he claimed the football player refused and then shoved him. Ortiz then tackled Anderson, who was later charged with one felony count of resisting an officer with violence and a misdemeanor count of obstruction.

But according to the State Attorney's Office, multiple other cops present when the alleged shoving occurred all testified they didn't see it didn't happen.

"None of the other officers present claim to have witnessed the alleged push," reads a statement, first reported on by Andy Slater. Prosecutors add that "additionally, in deposition Sergeant Alex Diaz claims to have only seen the defendant raise his hand to Captain Ortiz but never actually push him. Officer Kenya Crocker, who was also present, stated in deposition that while present she did not witness Mr. Anderson push Captain Ortiz or raise his hand to him."

Ortiz also skipped two scheduled depositions and never bothered to rebut any of the cops' claims or Anderson's side of the story. Prosecutors said they had no choice but to drop the case against Anderson today.

This is far from an isolated incident with Ortiz. In 2011, he and a group of fellow cops tasered a man outside Ultra Music Festival after they claimed he tried to fight a bunch of officers. But someone filmed the altercation, and the video contradicted the statements Ortiz made in his police documents. The victim's charges were also dropped, and a defense lawyer working on the case alerted Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle that Ortiz had likely committed perjury, which is a felony. He was never charged. And the man beaten by Ortiz and the other cops was later awarded a $400,000 settlement

In 2017, Ortiz was accused of fabricating an arrest report once more after the then-union chief claimed that Daniel Suarez, a naval officer and former member of the Civilian Investigative Panel (CIP), which investigates complaints against cops, had secretly threatened him outside a nightclub in 2012. But Ortiz had never arrested Suarez for the alleged crime despite meeting him in public repeatedly for multiple years. Suarez instead maintains that Ortiz made the whole arrest report up to smear Suarez, who is a prominent police critic. Suarez has filed multiple complaints about the allegedly fake report.

This is also not the first time Ortiz has been accused of wrongfully arresting an NFL player. University of Miami star and New Orleans Saints legend Jonathan Vilma in 2011 filed a complaint alleging that during a 2009 traffic stop, Ortiz waved a gun in Vilma's face, screamed at him, and arrested him on false charges that were later dropped.
New Times also caught Ortiz this year appearing in ads for an anti-aging clinic that dispenses testosterone and peptides of human growth hormone. Plus, the CIP raked Ortiz over the coals earlier this year for posting selfies smiling next to detained black suspects, which is an obvious violation of MPD's social media policy. Ortiz was also somehow not fired for doxxing and harassing a police critic in 2016.

The latest Anderson case is another test for new Chief Jorge Colina and Mayor Francis Suarez. Colina has tried to add transparency to the department and quickly called for a cop caught on video trying to kick a suspect to be fired. And Suarez wants to become a "strong mayor" with extra administrative power.

Former Chief Rodolfo Llanes actually promoted Ortiz from lieutenant to captain in 2017. Now, with yet another question about Ortiz's honesty on a police report, it's up to Colina and Suarez to take action.
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.