Breaking News: Miami’s Top Lawman, John Timoney, Breaks the Law

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For almost a month, Miami Police Chief John Timoney has ignored the rules of the city where he’s the top cop. A Miami citizens’ panel, then a state court judge, ordered him to fork over hundreds of pages of records related to a city probe into his free use of a Lexus SUV. He hasn’t complied.

“Chief Timoney accepted a free Lexus from Lexus of Kendall,” says Armando Aguilar, president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). “He drove this car for approximately 15 months. This is a clear violation of his own Department orders…The Chief of Police should be an example for others to follow.”

The Miami Civilian Investigative Panel, a group that investigates complaints about police, first subpoenaed Timoney to appear before them Nov. 30. The chief backed out of a hearing a week later on Dec. 6, the day before he was set to appear.

They issued a second subpoena on Dec. 10. This time, Timoney responded with a letter saying he was “perplexed” by the request for documents relating to his mileage, cell phone and fuel card use. Despite his confusion, he showed up at a December 21 CIP meeting.

Click on the button below to listen to Timoney's December 21 meeting with the civilian investigative panel.

On an audio recording of that meeting, Charles Mays, the panel’s independent counsel, introduces himself and the group to the chief. “We really appreciate you being here,” he says.

Timoney interrupts Mays by clearing his throat. “Before you go [any further], that may not be necessary because I’m here of my own volition, not as a result of a subpoena…it is my contention that this board, the Civilian Investigative Panel, has no jurisdiction over me,” Timoney says. “Even if you had the power that you think you have, which I may think you don’t, you’ve gone about this the entirely wrong manner.”

“What you’re doing is the political dirty work for the FOP,” he adds, referring to the Fraternal Order of Police. "You’re being used, it looks to me.”

He “refused to testify or produce the documents identified in the subpoena,” court records show.

Six days later, on Dec. 27, the panel asked the court to enforce their subpoenas. On Jan. 4 Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Victoria Sigler agreed and ordered the chief records to produce the records “forthwith.” So far, he hasn’t complied. The CIP invited him to testify this Friday.

Timoney didn’t respond to a phone message and email left with the Miami Police Department.

Aguilar contends the chief “betrayed the public’s trust” while sending a message to officers that “you can violate our rules and regulations and the law as long as you have the right connections.” -- Janine Zeitlin

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