Longform

John Timoney, America’s Worst Cop

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In November Timoney headed to Los Angeles for his second International Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference, at the city taxpayers' expense. He stayed at the Wilshire Grand for five nights. Cost: $1224. He didn't bill us for his $171 bar bill — though he submitted it with his travel records. The hotel bar, called Point Moorea, is described on its Website as a "unique upscale high-energy lounge styled after the popular tiki bars of the 1950s and '60s." On this trip, as most others, the chief received a fixed per diem of about $50 to $80 for food expense, depending on the city.

That same year Timoney came under fire from local black activists for keeping a black book of information on rappers and hip-hop artists (including Ja Rule, 50 Cent, and Jacki-O) who came to town for Memorial Day weekend celebrations. Music industry executives said the police were "spying" and using the book to discriminate against people of color. Timoney's response: He only intended it to keep police up-to-date on rap music's warring factions.

In December the peripatetic policeman made for San Diego, where he stayed for two days at the Paradise Point Resort and Spa (located on a private island complete with "tropical gardens" and "meandering lagoons"). He was there to attend the Police Executive Research Forum and to participate in a talk called "Critical Issues in Policing."

After all of that hard work, Timoney clearly needed sustenance. So he took his executive staff out to lunch at his favorite Miami restaurant, Gordon Biersch, according to the Miami Herald. He busted a purse snatcher during the revelry.

Amount spent on travel in 2004: $5090

Days away from the city in 2004: 23


The two hurricanes of 2005 didn't slow Timoney. That year he left Miami at least 10 times: Eight trips were reimbursed by the city, and two others — well, it's unclear who paid for those because they aren't reflected in city records.

Not that he did anything but work during those absences. On January 9 he stayed at the Grande Villas at World Golf Village in St. Augustine. According to the Website, it's a "country club-style vacation residence with every comfort and amenity." It's also located adjacent to the World Golf Hall of Fame. Timoney was there for the Florida Police Chiefs Association meeting.

A week later he attended a homeland security gathering in Washington, D.C., and in February he spent two days with Mayor Diaz in Key West at the Hilton for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. In May he visited Haiti for a few days to assess the police force, but taxpayers picked up only the $30 tab for the departure tax; the Haitian Government paid for his hotel and food.

In June he flew off on British Airways to Scotland for a Leadership in Counter Terrorism summit. He billed the city only for his $1161 airfare; someone else apparently paid for hotels and meals.

He went to Guantánamo Bay in July, according to press reports. (The trip doesn't show up in city records.) And in August he was a keynote speaker at a fundraising dinner for the Shawnee, Oklahoma Police Foundation (that trip isn't in the records, either — and it's not clear how many days he stayed). Then, just a few days after Hurricane Katrina knocked out power and created chaos in Miami, Timoney flew to New Jersey for three days to study closed-circuit television — it was a crime-fighting tool he was considering for the city's downtown area.

"Timoney has dealt a tremendous blow to our civil liberties," says Miami activist Max Rameau. "I think he would be the happiest on some team in Iraq, crushing people who he thinks are terrorists."

In September, Timoney went to a counterterrorism meeting in Belfast for 10 days, and three months later he attended a similar meeting in Boston. He should have stayed home. While the chief was out of town, two men in their twenties — Mike Fernandez and Sigfredo Garcia — were shot and critically wounded at a bus stop at NW 27th Avenue and West Flagler Street. The men said a shooter had stalked them on the bus and hounded them for nude photos of Fernandez's younger brothers.

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Tamara Lush