Miami Police Officer Rony Rodriguez's cruiser was idling in Brickell this past March when he turned to the camera and joked about whether he should really be filming a vlog while working on-duty as a cop.
"Good thing is, I'm in Brickell, so there's not much going on," Rodriguez said in the clip, later uploaded to a YouTube channel called "theRAshow" he ran with his girlfriend. "It's very laid-back, chill, rarely any calls. That's how I spend most of my days at work."
He wasn't exaggerating. Internal affairs investigators later determined Rodriguez had uploaded several clips of himself in uniform or wearing other MPD gear — often while joking with his girlfriend about having sex or laughing about having the free time to shoot clips while he was supposed to be working.
MPD's internal affairs (IA) investigators found Rodriguez guilty of negligence of duty, improper procedure, and misconduct in April. This month, the Civilian Investigative Panel, an independent group that looks into police misconduct, sustained similar allegations against him. It's not clear what punishment he received as a result of IA's findings; MPD didn't immediately respond to questions about the case.
Rodriguez's saga is just the latest in a trend of professionals breaking the rules to upload self-made reality TV to the web — sometimes without telling the public what they're up to, such as the Lyft driver caught this summer broadcasting his rides on Twitch without telling passengers.
The officer, who was hired in 2015, began uploading videos in early March with his girlfriend, Adelaida Leon. IA investigators reviewed a dozen videos uploaded over the next month with titles such as "The hottest police officer ever!" and "Cop gets a manicure?!!!"
Rodriguez apparently never filmed himself during arrests or dealing with the public, but investigators say they found numerous instances in which he wore his uniform in the clips while doing mundane things like pumping gas or shopping at Publix.
He doesn't exactly paint the department in the best light in the videos. In one, he tells his girlfriend: "I just need a bed with you in it, butt-naked." In another, he suggests taking dates to Denny's because "that shit will get you laid." In yet another, he asks his girlfriend whether she's "horny."
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Investigators also found several cases in which he filmed vlogs while on-duty or working off-duty gigs doing security. In one video he says, "That's the good thing about my job — I can play with my hours and my days off."
In another, he even brags about watching three movies while working an off-duty gig. (He later told investigators he "does not recall" whether he, in fact, binge-watched Netflix while working.)
When investigators confronted Rodriguez about the videos in April, he claimed he had asked his girlfriend to blur out his police insignia and to bleep out any cursing in the videos. He also insisted he didn't know the videos were public — a claim that's hard to believe considering he regularly ended videos by asking viewers to subscribe to the channel.
By filming on-duty and in uniform, IA found in April, he'd broken the department's social media policies. They also found that he was "less than truthful" in his claims about not knowing the videos were public and that his conduct "brought the City of Miami Police Department into disrepute."