Despite his laundry list of complaints and lawsuits from civilians, City of Miami Police union vice president Javier Ortiz received a big promotion at the department in October, getting a bump from lieutenant to captain.
In the past, Ortiz — an officer who has been accused of racism, police brutality, cyberbullying, and perjury, among other offenses — has deftly avoided almost any type of discipline. His invincibility is such that he has openly bragged about his long history with internal affairs, the police department division that investigates complaints from civilians.
"Street cop," he said in one Facebook post. "Check my IA profile."
But the jig might be up soon if one of his alleged victims has anything to do with it. Ruben Sebastian, a security guard who is suing Ortiz for false arrest, says he and his lawyer are attempting to round up pretty much anyone who's ever been wronged by Ortiz to serve as witnesses at his trial.
"We're not looking to settle. I want to see this guy's head on a platter," Sebastian says. "This guy should not be a cop. He's dangerous."
According to the lawsuit, Miami Police Officer Jay Grossman called for backup from Ortiz after pulling over Sebastian for speeding in July 2015. When Sebastian refused a voluntary search of his car, he says Ortiz forcibly yanked the door open, pulled him out of the driver's seat, and handcuffed him.
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Sebastian was arrested for resisting an officer and reckless display of a firearm, which he says was the result of the cops finding the gun he used for his security job in the driver's door side pocket. All of the charges were ultimately dismissed.
After mediation "went south" this past Tuesday, Sebastian says he plans to take the wrongful-arrest suit to trial. His attorney, David Frankel, says he hopes to present other witnesses who have been harmed by Ortiz to show the city is liable. Possible witnesses include Claudia Castillo, who says she was cyberbullied and stalked by Ortiz; François Alexandre, who sued Ortiz for police brutality; and Danny Suarez, an outspoken critic of local police who says Ortiz falsified a police report to slander him.
"I filed suit not just against Javier Ortiz, but I filed suit against the city, saying they violated Ruben's rights because they knew or should have known that he is a constant danger to people and they haven't done anything to stop him," Frankel says. "The way I would prove that in Ruben's trial, obviously, is by bringing in all these other instances."
Lawyers with the city attorney's office did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday. Nor did Robert Buschel, an attorney who has represented Ortiz and the union in prior lawsuits.