For weeks after a joyriding Miami Beach cop crashed his ATV following a night of on-duty drinking on Ocean Drive, some in the department have argued that a couple rogue cops were to blame. That argument won't hold water today with the release of an internal investigation.
At least three more officers face punishment due to disappearing from duty, lying about their hours, falsifying time cards and generally being worthless at their jobs during the July 3 incident.
The cops cited in the new report are:
- Lt. Jerome Berrian, demoted to sergeant and ordered to repay $2,600 in false compensation
- Sgt. Michael Muley, 80 hour suspension and demotion
- Sgt. Alberto Estraviz, demoted from lieutenant, suspended 80 hours
Two other supervisors have already been handed punishments over the crash: Capt. Charles London was demoted to lieutenant and Maj. Brian Silman earned a 40 hour suspension. (The two cops directly involved in the crash, Derick Kuilan and Rolando Gutierrez, were both fired; Kuilan also faces felony criminal charges.)
All the cops can appeal the punishments at a hearing on October 17.
According to the report, the supervisors failed to properly oversee Kuilan and Gutierrez, who were photographed drinking with a bachelorette party at the Clevelander shortly before Kuilan crashed his ATV at high speeds into a couple sitting on the beach.
Berrian has long been one of the highest compensated officers on the force thanks to heaps of overtime work. In the five years before 2010, he made $824,538, we found. In February 2006, he was also found asleep at the wheel of his cruiser while he was supposed to be directing boat show traffic.
Here's city manager Jorge Gonzalez's statement on the punishments:
Following the July 3, 2011 incident, I requested an Internal Affairs investigation relating to the role of several Police supervisors assigned to the Patrol Division.Today, as a result of the investigation, the City issued notices of intent to discipline three supervisors.
These notices were issued in accordance with the City's and the Police Department's established personnel policies and procedures. This process also provides for a hearing. Final discipline for the supervisors will not be determined until the supervisors attend their respective hearings next week.
In addition, earlier this week two members of the command staff were disciplined. This resulted in the demotion of a Police Captain and the suspension of a Major.
As I committed at the onset of this investigation, the roles and performance of all staff members in the chain of command have been reviewed and appropriate and swift action is being taken. I feel these actions are necessary and warranted to ensure the upmost [sic] accountability of all City staff, especially those charged with the health and safety of our residents.
Riptide has requested the full file to determine the exact role of each officer in the lead-up to the crash, and we'll update this post when we receive the info later today.
Update: We've received summaries of the investigations against all three officers. Here are the highlights:
The night of the crash, Berrian was in charge of supervising both Kuilan and Gutierrez. Yet he showed up at least two hours late for his 10:30 p.m. start time. He told investigators he was "at a party," and later spent "a prolonged period of time in the restroom."
He didn't log onto his work computer until around 1:45 in the morning. In the meantime, Guiterrez went to work with Kulian when he was supposed to be on patrol farther north on the Beach. When Kuilan's direct supervisor went home early due to an illness, Berrian left two full districts unsupervised for almost two hours.
Just to top it off, Berrian falsified his time sheets to show that he'd actually arrived on time at 10:30 p.m., investigators found, and claimed 7.5 overtime hours while dealing with the aftermath of the ATV crash.
"Your gross negligence presented officer-safety concerns and a potential risk of harm to citizens and visitors," investigators write in Berrian's report.
Muley, meanwhile, was supposed to be Kuilan's direct supervisor the night of the crash. He's cited for failing to notice that Gutierrez was working with Kuilan instead of the district where he was assigned and for failing to ask why the pair spent over an hour and a half on a "routine" 9-1-1 call while they were in fact partying.
Muley also lied on his time sheets after showing up a half hour late for his shift, investigators say.
Estraviz is similarly cited for failing to sniff out Gutierrez's working in the wrong district and the long 9-1-1 response by the pair. Investigators also found he'd inflated his own time sheets by almost three and a half hours between March and June.
Here are the three full reports: