Ortiz told me, "This whole thing has been blown out of proportion. This officer was never charged with anything following the incident."
Ortiz added that he met with Juchnowski today and "He is not distraught."
Ortiz told me that the FOP is working to get Juchnowski re-instated, adding, "You can quote me on this, this officer will get his job back."
Ortiz dismissed the allegations that Juchnowski was fired for a "variety of other reasons."
"No one has has shown me what those 'other reasons' are. This is a good police officer."
Ortiz also said that Juchnowski was still a probationary officer due to the fact that he had been out for almost a year recuperating following a training accident.
Yesterday, a Miami Police Internal Affairs investigator went to the Pennsylvania Ave apartment of the officer, Michael Juchnowski, to retrieve his city-issued equipment.
Juchnowski allegedly pepper-sprayed a cab driver who was picking up a passenger near David's Cafe on Meridian Road last Dec. 14. (See incident report below.)
Juchnowski had apparently drawn the attention of his supervisors for other infractions since his hiring a few years ago.
Following Juchnowski's dismissal, the Internal Affairs Investigator alerted Miami Beach police because Juchnowski became "extremely distraught after the firing."
Miami Beach police Lt. Ronald Chapman issued a memo late Wednesday that cautioned Miami Beach officers to "use extra caution when responding to [Juchnowski's] location."
From: Chapman, Ronald
Sent: Wed 1/18/2012 4:59 PM
To: Police Intel
Subject: Officer Safety
The Miami Police Officer who was involved in an off-duty incident on December 14, 2011 involving a taxi cab and described in the attached Special Incident was terminated by Miami PD today. The probationary officer was terminated for a variety of reasons according to the Internal Affairs Investigator. The former officer resides at [redacted] Pennsylvania Avenue #1B, he recently moved to #7 in the same building. Today, his City equipment was taken from him by the Miami Police Department Internal Affairs Investigator. The investigator requested our agency be notified as the individual was extremely distraught after the firing. Responding officers should use extra caution when responding to the location. PSCU was advised and the address has been flagged to advise any responding officer of the possibility of encountering the individual who is believed to have personal firearms. Captain Causey was advised.
W/M, Michael Juchnowski, (Former Miami Officer)
[redacted] Pennsylvania Avenue, Miami Beach
[by] Lieutenant Ronald D. Chapman, Patrol Division/2nd Platoon