Miami-Dade Police Chief Quits Police Union

Miami-Dade Police Director James Loftus is no longer a member of the Police Benevolent Association, the union that represents more than 6,500 law enforcement officers in the county and several cities. In a memo sent yesterday to all county cops, Loftus says he quit the PBA over comments union leaders made about two internal affairs detectives and a dispute over a softball game.

Yes. You read right. A softball game.

PBA Vice-President Steadman Stahl skewered sergeants Darryl Rassmussen and Robert Trujillo (who retired from the department) for leading the criminal probes of former county police officers Daniel Fernandez and Joe Losada. A Miami-Dade jury recently convicted both men on criminal charges stemming from an undercover IA investigation involving a self-admitted drug dealer who claimed Fernandez and Losada had planted drugs on him and stolen his money during a 2005 arrest.

In his column for the PBA Heat newsletter, Stahl wrote: "This investigation was a total embarrassment because it was sloppy and poorly conducted."

Loftus, in his memo, says: "Regardless of the testimony, the evidence, or the outcome, it is wrong to insult two quality men because they were doing their jobs." The county chief also ripped into unnamed PBA representatives for insinuating he tried to fix a police softball game.

Read the memo below:

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.