When he was traded from the LA Lakers to the Miami Heat in 2004, Shaquille O'Neal became a reserve officer on the Miami Beach police force. Like any cop in Florida, O'Neal had a personnel file that is subject to a public records request.
We've embedded the file below. As in everything Shaq does, his application to be a South Beach cop-- specifically, to "work special crimes unit"-- is goofy as hell. And a bit disconcerting.
"He would have been instantly disqualified" if he was a normal applicant, says Miami Beach Police union vice president Gustavo Sanchez. "The first thing we tell all young guys applying for a job as an officer is: Tell the truth."
Parts of the application, such as Shaq's substance abuse history, are redacted. We've been assured by the department that this is standard procedure for any officer.
A few of the high/lowlights:
- Asked about "special skills" or "equipment", Shaq simply wrote: "Laptop computer, binnochulars [sic], master of surveillance"
- He listed the Los Angeles Lakers as a previous employer from 1996 to 2004. Job title: "NBA center". Description of duties: "Everything" (Take that, Kobe!)
- Shaq's character references are three neighbors from Star Island, including Gloria Estefan. The queen of Latin pop gave him a spotless reference, although indicated that she only knew him "somewhat".
- Another neighbor snitched on Shaq speeding through the island. The name is redacted, but the process of elimination tells us it was one of the owners of 31 Star Island, noted rich people Sam or Roni Jacobson.
- The Miami Beach file also includes his previous application to be a member of the Los Angeles Port Police. In this application, Shaq cited his personal chef and his lawyer as his two references.
- Shaq got deep when interviewed for the job. Asked about the best memory of his life, he responded: "All dreams have come true."
- The worst? "Messing up so much that he thought parents didn't love him."
- His weakest quality? [sic] "Don't express myself when he feels he should. His father was a drill sgt. who taught him to keep everything in."
- Asked if he knew the definition of deadly force, Shaq replied: "Yes; red, yellow, green" which -- does anybody out there know what that means?
- Could he use deadly force against another person? "Yes"
- Then we get into Shaq's distinctly Reagan-esque political beliefs. He said he doesn't believe the justice system is fair, elaborating, "against p.o.s stricter", which we take to mean that the justice system is too strict on cops. He believes in capital punishment, and doesn't think executions in Florida should be made more humane. Cops should use manpower to try to stop prostitution, but not gambling. And he wouldn't strike with the police union.
- His only question was about "legal insurance".
- His police training appeared to have been penciled in around his existing schedule on a calendar, including games, his mother Lucille's birthday, and shooting an ad for Starter.
Shaq played fast and loose with the facts as he rushed through the MBPD application:
- He responded "no" when asked if he had ever been the subject of a police investigation. That's debatable. In 1998, Shaq was accused of choking a woman at Disneyworld. No charges were filed, but here's a line from the Orlando Sentinel at the time:
Kim Grant, 23, showed up Friday morning at the Orange County Sheriff's Office after failing to return investigators' telephone calls for weeks.
Call us crazy, but we have an old adage: When there are investigators, there's an investigation.
- Shaq claimed that neither he nor his spouse had ever sued anyone or been sued-- which would be a miraculous feat for a celebrity of his stature. According to a quick public records search, Shaq had been named as a defendant in two suits in his resident Orange County, Florida, alone.
- He also claimed that he didn't have savings or checking accounts, any investments, or an automobile.
According to Basketball Reference, Shaq made $27.7 million in playing salary that year.
You could say there's something almost ironic about Shaq's mistruths in the application. You know like: Hey, he's Shaq -- of course he had a checking account.
Or you could say that Shaq clearly fibbed on his application to be a cop, and the MBPD didn't bother to correct him.
His tenure with the department is now under new scrutiny, thanks to a lawsuit claiming he used police connections there to attempt to frame a former employee with a crime.
Shaq's reps declined to comment on the discrepancies in his police application.
Shaq's Leaked Emails:
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