4
| Columns |

Undercover Cop Broke Rules, Scared the Crap Out of Everyone At BBQ Joint, CIP Says

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

​Miguel Rodriguez and his wife, Barbara, were waiting for some barbecue after work on a Friday afternoon late last year when all hell broke loose inside People's Bar-B-Que in Overtown.

A screaming man dressed head to toe in black charged the busy take-out counter, wielding a handgun sideways, gangsta-style. Rodriguez, a Miami-Dade firefighter and former cop, was so terrified he felt chest pains. Other patrons hit the floor and shrieked. Rodriguez had one last thought as he threw his hands in the air: I'm going to get shot.

Not until several bowel-loosening minutes later did the man in black -- now surrounded by City of Miami cops -- pull out his badge and identify himself as an undercover officer making a bust. After the scene settled down, the cop was "rude and confrontational" and refused to give his name before storming off with his fellow officers, Rodriguez says.


Rodriguez -- who says he spent 15 years as a cop in Miami-Dade County before becoming a firefighter -- filed an internal affairs complaint. Despite multiple witnesses backing him, IA dismissed Rodriguez's complaints, claiming no police record exists of such a raid at People's on November 13. 

Now, a committee of the Civilian Investigative Panel -- the independent body that investigates police complaints -- says the undercover officer broke at least three rules in the barbecue joint, and the CIP is demanding answers from the Miami Police Department.

"The police say they have no record of going into this place when at least one officer ran in with a gun drawn and left people diving for the floor and fearing for their lives," CIP member Janet McAliley says. "That's amazing."

Shewanda Hall, the CIP's investigator, interviewed three witnesses who all confirmed Rodriguez's story. She found that the cop -- still unnamed -- broke at least three regulations by not clearly displaying his badge while making the arrest, by refusing to give Rodriguez his name, and by carelessly using his firearm.

McAliley says she hopes the CIP's findings will motivate IA to actually identify the mystery cop and prevent future raids like the debacle at People's. The MPD declines to comment about ongoing IA investigations. 

"If you hadn't had someone there like Mr. Rodriguez who knew this wasn't right, we would never have heard about this," McAliley says.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.