Police

Guess Who's Back? Javier Ortiz, Miami's Most Controversial Cop, Is Reinstated

Miami Police Capt. Javier Ortiz
Miami Police Capt. Javier Ortiz Screenshot via YouTube
The Miami Police Department's most scandal-plagued officer is back in action after reaching a reinstatement agreement with the city eight months after his firing.

Over a nearly 20-year career, Capt. Javier Ortiz racked up a laundry list of complaints alleging abuse of power, prejudice, and excessive force. It surprised just about everyone when an accusation of violating the department's overtime policy finally did him in last September — with newly appointed chief Manny Morales firing Ortiz in one of his first notable moves as police boss.

Ortiz's attorney, Griska Mena, confirmed to New Times on May 2 that Ortiz is once again employed by the City of Miami.

"The South Florida Police Benevolent Association on behalf of Captain Javier Ortiz and the City of Miami have reached a resolution on all pending matters regarding the employment of Captain Ortiz," Mena wrote via email. "Both parties believed that is in the best interest of the citizens of the City of Miami and Captain Ortiz."

Mena previously characterized Ortiz's firing as politically motivated and vowed to fight to have him reinstated.

A Miami Police Department (MPD) spokesperson didn't immediately respond to New Times' request for comment.

According to a May 2 settlement obtained by New Times (attached below), Ortiz is retaining his captain rank but will be administratively reassigned to the chief's office, where he will work directly under Chief Morales.

In this role, he will only be allowed to use his police power in extenuating circumstances, such as to stop forcible felonies or prevent imminent, severe bodily harm or death.

While the city agreed to grant Ortiz backpay from the time he was fired until May 2, he won’t be allowed to conduct union business, must drop all pending grievances and litigation against the city, and must retire in November 2025 under the agreement.

An MPD officer since 2004, Ortiz logged more than 50 citizen complaints, 20 use-of-force incidents, and three suspensions, all while ascending the ranks. New Times chronicled the rise and fall of the longtime police union boss last September, recapping dozens of alleged infractions, from doxxing private citizens to breaking a woman's wrist during Art Basel.

Ortiz, a white-Hispanic officer, made national headlines when he claimed during a city meeting that he was "a Black male or a Negro" under the "one drop rule," an antiquated racial classification system.

Among other disciplinary actions, Ortiz was suspended in 2020 amid an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the FBI involving current and former MPD officers who'd complained that Ortiz had "engaged in a pattern of abuse and bias against minorities, primarily African Americans."

The probe concluded with no finding of criminal misconduct by Ortiz.

This is a breaking story. Please check back for updates.
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Alex DeLuca is a staff writer at Miami New Times.
Contact: Alex DeLuca

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