Miami Police Will Get Three Percent Bonus This Year Despite Excessive Force Problems

Categories: News

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Just because Miami Police officers have a bit of a problem with shooting unarmed black men, doesn't mean they don't deserve a lil' sumpin' sumpin' extra.

At least, that's what city commissioners seemed to suggest last night when they gave preliminary approval to a $524 million budget that would give Miami cops a one-time bonus equal to three percent of their salary.

The windfall -- which amounts to $6.8 million or roughly half of the city's 2013 surplus -- comes shortly after the Department of Justice slammed Miami Police for a "pattern... of excessive force" that killed seven black men in eight months. Most of the men were unarmed.

See also: Feds: Miami Police's Use of Excessive Force Violated Fourth Amendment

It's been barely two months since the DOJ issued a long awaited investigation into Miami's much-maligned police department. The Feds slammed the cops for violating the Fourth Amendment rights of shooting victims:

Between 2008 and 2011, officers intentionally shot at individuals on 33 separate occasions, three of which MPD itself found unjustified. The department found that a number of MPD practices, including deficient tactics, improper actions by specialized units, as well as egregious delays and substantive deficiencies in deadly force investigations, contributed to the pattern or practice of excessive force.

And yet all the talk at last night's city commission meeting was about whether this year's surplus money should be spent on restoring recently cut benefits for cops, giving them bonuses, or hiring more officers.

"We have a crimewave in the city of Miami," Commissioner Marc Sarnoff said, according to the Miami Herald. Statistics from police chief Manuel Orosa, meanwhile, showed that overall crime was actually down one percent in the Grove.

Sarnoff was the only commissioner to vote against the police bonus, not because he opposed it but because he wanted the money to go towards restoring cop benefits instead.

"This is a promise made, and a promise kept," said Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones as she voted in favor of the bonuses. "They have our backs every single day, and now we have to have their backs."

Still undecided is how many new cops the city will hire. Outside grant money will cover 25 more officers -- bringing the force to the city's desired 1,144 -- but some in the audience demanded 100, echoing Sarnoff's safety concerns.

Cops wore bright yellow t-shirts to the meeting that read: ""You Can't Hire 100 New MPD Cops If You Can't Take Care Of The Ones Already Here."

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8 comments
internetinternet
internetinternet

Citizens of Miami Beach overpay greatly for on of the worst crime rates in America. You never want to compare yourself to Miami Beach.  It's never about base pay with unions.  It's about overtime and pensions. 

Police cheating on overtime costs us millions Posted on Sunday, 07.13.97

By JEFF LEEN, GAIL EPSTEIN And LISA GETTER

Cops call it "Collars for Dollars." It's how they turn arrests on the streets into money in their pockets. Until now, it has been a courthouse secret.

It works like this: Police list each other as witnesses in drunk driving and misdemeanor cases even if they did little or no police work. Then they all get to go to court, where they make overtime they don't deserve. "That is stealing, " said former Miami Police Capt. Nate Harris, who tried unsuccessfully to stop it in his department two years ago. "It's embezzlement, is what it is." An eight-month Miami Herald investigation documented Collars for Dollars abuse involving hundreds of officers in thousands of cases. It happens so often that it costs Dade County taxpayers millions. It burdens the courthouse with thousands of unnecessary witnesses, leads to lost cases and even traps some innocent people. Dade County Judge Wendell Graham likens it to "some form of racketeering."...

internetinternet
internetinternet

A delusional union.  You don't need a union to protect salaries if you are making anything over $20 an hour.  People who make minimum wage need to unionize. 

Jason Chohonis
Jason Chohonis

I don't know that this is complaint worthy. I think 3% is pretty piddling. Teachers deserve extra money too, but maybe the problem is that we're pitting low salary municipal employees against each other instead of looking at the real issues. Like the Marlins stadium we built for a multi-millionaire. Or like the lack of public transportation running through our city to make the lives of the lower classes more tolerable. But yeah New Times, lets blame the police in a blanket statement. Let's denigrate those good officers that do risk their lives, because a few police officers act like 14 year old bullies. I like you newtimes, but c'mon now.

Brittany Ashlock
Brittany Ashlock

But we had to beg plead and grovel to keep our libraries functional. Awesome.

Bryan Selent
Bryan Selent

At Miami New Times, you don't need to be a good writer to have your own column...

Clemente Morales
Clemente Morales

Miami-Dade County Public Schools wins the prestigious Broad Prize, and no one even flinches. Where are the teachers bonuses?

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