Javier Ortiz Comes Up Short in Race for Police Union Boss

Fired Miami Police Capt. Javier Ortiz ran on a racial justice platform in the recent police union presidential election.
Fired Miami Police Capt. Javier Ortiz ran on a racial justice platform in the recent police union presidential election. Video by Javier Ortiz, screenshot via YouTube
Fired Miami Police Captain Javier Ortiz has lost his comeback attempt to become president of Miami's Fraternal Order of Police, his second unsuccessful bid for the union boss position since 2020.

Two other candidates, current union president Tommy Reyes and vice president Felix Del Rosario, will be facing off against each other in a runoff election since neither secured more than 50 percent of the vote.

Ortiz received 337 votes, while Del Rosario and Reyes garnered 452 and 554 votes, respectively.

In a campaign video, Ortiz, who was fired in September for alleged improper overtime pay practices, vowed to address discriminatory treatment that he says is plaguing Black officers in the Miami Police Department (MPD).

"FOP has been compromised," Ortiz said in the video. "There's no unity and that is really something that has drawn me to run."

Ortiz previously served as union president of Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 20 from 2011 to late 2017.

Earlier this month, Reyes explained to New Times that because Ortiz is appealing his firing, he remained a member of Lodge 20 and was therefore eligible to run for union president.

Though he promoted a racial justice platform, Ortiz faced numerous accusations of racially insensitive behavior and prejudice while on the force. The controversial cop was suspended for more than a year, beginning in early 2020, pending a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigation into allegations that he targeted minorities as an officer.

During a city commission meeting in 2020, after it came to light that he claimed to be Black on two promotional applications, the Hispanic and white officer insisted he is African American under the antiquated "one drop rule."

Over his 18 years on the force, Ortiz tallied more than 50 citizen complaints and 20 use-of-force incidents.

Sergeant Reyes has been with the Miami Police Department since 2006, serving in the robbery unit and as a neighborhood resource officer, among other positions. He gained popularity among MPD officers when he resisted department pay cuts during the pandemic.

The sergeant previously beat out Ortiz for FOP president in a 2021 election after Ortiz mounted a campaign while he was still suspended.

Reyes has been embroiled in controversy of his own this year.

He was suspended with pay for much of 2022 as internal affairs investigated a Tallahassee incident in which Reyes pulled a gun on a Grindr date who allegedly stole his police badge and wallet. After finding Reyes violated departmental orders, internal affairs recommended a 40-hour suspension.

However, Chief Manuel Morales had the final say. As reported by WLRN, the chief wrote in his reprimand that Reyes "was a victim of a felonious crime," and that he would receive a 20-hour suspension without pay.
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Naomi Feinstein is a fellow at Miami New Times. She spent the last year in New York City getting her master’s degree at the Columbia School of Journalism. She is also a proud alum of the University of Miami.
Contact: Naomi Feinstein

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