Miguel Exposito Fired by City Commission UPDATED
MSJ evidently decided her district's outrage over the Miami Police Department's wave of seven fatal cop-involved shootings this past year outweighed her own desire to stick it to Mayor Tomás Regalado. As expected, she was the swing in a 3-2 ballot to ax the top cop.
Joining her in voting for Exposito's ouster were Francis Suarez and Willy Gort. Marc Sarnoff and Frank Carollo both voted to keep Exposito.
Technically, Exposito was axed for "disobeying" new City Manager Johnny Martinez's orders to not demote three senior officers and to cut down on overtime payouts.
In reality, he was fired for waging an all-out political war with Regalado for the past 12 months.
Exposito certainly kept life at Dinner Key interesting by repeatedly reporting the mayor to the FBI, first for allegedly interfering with police raids on maquinitas -- the faux-slot machines whose owners heavily support the mayor -- and then for allegedly offering him a $400,000 "bribe" to quietly leave office.
The chief was hardly running a model force in the meantime. He allowed a sketchy reality show to film inside the department and called his cops "predators" on film, a decision he'd come to regret when they started shooting to kill in Overtown and Liberty City.
He also presided over a ridiculously botched "corruption probe" and publicly battled State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle over prosecutors' handling of his cops' fatal shootings.
So now the Exposito era has come to an end. What's next for MPD?
For now, it's in the hands of an interim chief, Manuel Oroso, a guy with a few unsavory skeletons in his own closet.
Update: Regalado calls the chief's firing a "painful process" and says he plans to fight for charter reform to ensure "this unfortunate event [won't] happen again."
Presumably, that means he wants to allow the city manager to hire and fire police chiefs without the city commission's input -- a questionable precedent considering Regalado hired Exposito in the first place.
Here's Regalado's statement on the firing. (FYI, the questionable grammar comes straight from the mayor's office. We just copied and pasted.):
I am grateful to the City Commission for its support of the City Manager. Today, we turn the page and leave this ordeal behind us. This has been a painful process for the City, but at the same time has demonstrated that our city demands that its employees respect their superiors and follow the Charter.Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.
>As responsible officials we have a duty to prevent this unfortunate event to happen again.
The authority of the City Manager over the heads of departments should be clear and unquestionable. He is in fact the ultimate responsible for their performance.
The first step to straighten and strengthen the efficiency and accountability in the administration is reforming the process for the removal of department heads.
We have to turn this ordeal into a positive experience for the best of our City.
But, now we have a priority: the budget. In just two days we have its first reading and a deadline by September 30.
Therefore, as soon as we finalize our budget, I will present charter reform options to the Commission to insure that our City never again has to endure a process like this which has cost time and resources to the city and has negatively affected the morale of our employees and the residents in general.