Last fall, retired Miami Police Sgt. Nestor Garcia dropped by the department's Internal Affairs office to read up on a case filed against Capt. Javier Ortiz, the former police union leader known for exploits such as harassing a citizen online, calling Tamir Rice a "thug," and bragging about his lengthy IA record.
Within days, news of Garcia's visit was plastered all over the police gossip blog LEOAffairs, along with threats and derogatory comments about him. The thread was called "NGgggggggg We see you," and one of the commenters wrote, "We are not only laughing at you, but your every move is being documented and disseminated."
Earlier this month,
CIP staff says the actions are "harmful to the overall integrity of the department." Garcia, who called the comments an attempt at intimidation, says his treatment shows that harassment and intimidation might await anyone who tries to report police misconduct. "If they attack me — who, I know a lot, I'd been there 30-something years, I have a good rapport with a lot of people — imagine what they're going to do to the general public," he tells New Times. "That's going to deter people from going and making a
Garcia said he was looking into Internal Affairs' handling of a complaint filed against Ortiz for taking selfies in front of handcuffed suspects and posting them on social media. In that case, IA sustained an allegation of "improper procedure" against Ortiz.
But he ultimately didn't face punishment. Under Florida's Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights, cops cannot be punished if internal disciplinary investigations take longer than 180 days. Ortiz's took 192 days. Garcia suspected investigators were running out the clock to cover for the former union chief.
(The IA investigator involved in Ortiz's case, Sgt.
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While at Internal Affairs reviewing the case files, Garcia chatted with a few cops but never mentioned why he was there. He looked through the documents behind closed doors. But over at LEOAffairs, commenters knew exactly why he was there — apparent evidence that someone in IA had publicly leaked the purpose of Garcia's visit.
"As soon as I left, they had written that I went to IA and that I was reviewing specifically what I was reviewing," he says.
The forum contained comments like "We will wait for you this week" and "We look forward in you running your mouth when you come in the office, with you having no idea who of us are letting the masses know what your latest move is." Others mentioned his arrest for allegedly posing as an officer on duty after his retirement. One made derogatory and threatening comments about his wife.
This is not the first time someone has been harassed for trying to look into misconduct at Internal Affairs. Last year, CIP member Daniel Suarez was told the police department did not take "third-party complaints," then was treated with hostility while providing a statement. The IA officer was sarcastic, taunting, and unprofessional, Suarez said. The CIP sustained a complaint of improper procedure in that case, too.