Let the John Timoney Boot Party Commence!
Esquire once dubbed him "America's Best Cop." Miami New Times crowned him the nation's worst cop. But rest assured, Timoney will be some jurisdiction's top cop, maybe even one close to the Magic City.
An Irish immigrant who grew up in New York City, where he joined the police department and rose through the ranks to deputy police commissioner, Timoney is an accomplished law enforcer. Before coming to the Miami, Timoney won praise and criticism as the police commissioner in Philadelphia.
Timoney won the heart and mind of Manny Diaz, who protected him from his ethical lapses. But he couldn't win the love of the city's police union and the department's rank-and-file officers. In his resignation letter to City Manager Pete Hernandez, Timoney wrote:
I truly feel I have fullfilled my mission that I set out nearly seven years ago. I leave with nothing but the highest regards for the men and women of this department.During his seven years as Miami's police chief, Timoney accomplished a fair amount of good for the department, cleansing its reputation as a place where cops could shoot unarmed suspects and plant guns to justify their actions.
And under his watch, the city's crime rate dropped significantly. But the mistakes are far too many to ignore. It began with his manhandling of the U.S. Constitution, when in 2003 he created a police state during the Free Trade Area of the Americas summit. The city still feels the repercussions of Timoney's "Miami Model" today.
Just look at a ruling earlier this year by the 11th Circuit Court of the U.S. District Court of Appeals that found the city and Timoney shut down an Amnesty International protest before it began. The court stated that "there can be no doubt that police conduct knowingly designed to so utterly eviscerate fundamental expressive freedoms would violate clearly established constitutional law..."
From there, Timoney just kept racking up controversies. Here's a brief rundown:
- When Miami Police detectives apprehended Shenandoah rapist Reynaldo Rapalo, Timoney refused to credit Miami private investigator Joe Carrillo for leading the cops to their suspect. Last year, Timoney finally acknowledged the private eye with a certificate of appreciation that reads, "In recognition of your assistance in the Shenandoah Rapist Case."
- He fired female police officers who maintained romantic relationships with convicted felons, citing department rules that prohibit Miami cops from fraternizing with criminals, yet it was OK for him to break the rules when he provided the bail collateral for his son Sean, who had been busted trying to buy 400 pounds of marijuana.
- The city's police union accused him of manipulating crime statistics to make it appear Miami's streets were safer. Seperate criminal probes by the FBI and the FDLE did not find any wrongdoing by Timoney, but the controversy exposed a gigantic rift between the chief and the powerful Fraternal Order of Police.
When he appeared before the Civilian Investigative Panel last December 21, Timoney thumbed his nose at the board, informing its members they had "no jurisdiction over [him]." He added, "What you're doing is the political dirty work for the FOP. You're being used, it looks to me."
Oh, Timoney, how much we will miss thee. Click below to read the police chief's retirement letter:
Chief Timoney Retiring.pdf