In the wake of this weekend's boisterous protests that twice shut down 195 and clogged streets from Wynwood to Midtown, Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa sat down with Michael Putney on Channel 10 last night. Orosa was surprisingly blunt about the Eric Garner case in New York, telling Putney that he believes the NYC cops who put Garner in a chokehold before his death will be indicted for federal civil rights violations.
Well, it didn't take long for Orosa's own union to strike back this morning. Union President Javier Ortiz slammed the chief in a letter, saying his comments have "absolutely no basis" and "do not reflect the views" of Miami cops.
Orosa's comments came on Putney's "This Week in South Florida," after the host quizzed him about the video showing Garner dying while in a police chokehold.
"Was that proper police procedure?" Putney asked the chief.
"No it's not," Orosa replied. "I thought someone was going to be indicted from video. but I understand the grand jury had issues of who actually caused the death of Mr. Garner."
Orosa said he believed indictments are still forthcoming, though.
"I think in a federal situation most of those offices will probably be indicted, whether they will be convicted or not," he said. "I was surprised he was not indicted. Chokeholds are against policy in most department, including ours."
Orosa later suggested that cops could have used a leg sweep or a Taser to take down Garner, who was suspected of selling illegal cigarettes.
None of that went over well with Ortiz or his union. In a letter addressed to Putney, the union president defends the New York cops and hits back at the chief for defending Garner.
The suspect resisted arrest, Ortiz claims, and was breaking the law at the time.
"Whether you are committing a forcible felony or a minor crime, everyone must respect the law," he writes.
Ortiz also addresses Orosa's plan to bring body cameras to MPD officers. He says the union doesn't oppose the move, but criticizes the cost of storing video data.
"The Miami (union) is not against cameras as long as there is a sound policy in place," he writes. "What is of greater concern is the enormous reoccurring expense in storing the data from these cameras (approximately five to seven million dollars a year)."
Here's his full letter:
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