Monday, April 23, 2012

The happiest cop in South Florida is...

...Miami Beach Police Chief Ray Martinez.

Late last month Martinez assumed command of what might charitably be called "a mildly dysfunctional police department."

Almost two weeks ago, the FBI busted five Miami Beach city code enforcement officials and two fire inspectors after they were caught trying to extort money from a nightclub manager in exchange for overlooking code violations.

It's a case that some say Martinez's department should have cracked. Added to that, the Miami Beach Police department is still reeling from the repercussions it felt following a wild police shootout last Memorial Day weekend and a July 4th weekend incident that will forever link the phrase "Miami Beach Police" with the words "all-terrain vehicle."

However, in spite of all that, I have a feeling that Martinez is breathing a sigh of relief today.

And that's because he's no longer in charge of South Florida's most dysfunctional police agency.

That dubious distinction now belongs to James Loftus, Director of the Miami-Dade Police Department.

Click to enlarge.

Late last night we learned that back on January 31 - according to an official email - the geniuses at something called the Miami-Dade Police Homeland Security Bureau were gathering intel on Miami photographer and activist Carlos Miller by monitoring his Facebook page.

Click image to enlarge.

Eleven hours later, one of the email's recipients, Miami-Dade Police Major Nancy Perez, ordered Miller's arrest on charges of obstruction of justice and resisting arrest while he was covering the Jan. 31 Occupy Miami eviction.

Miller learned of the email's existence following a public records request.

Miller also writes that the Homeland Security Bureau's commander, Miami-Dade Police Major Glenn Stolzenberg, "received an email from fellow officers informing him about my article in which I first had identified Perez as my arresting officer, he stated the following in his response...
"Thanks Maggie. Please have someone take a look at this. There maybe a statute that deals with posting pictures of LE officers."
What's frightening about that email snippet is that 25 years ago Stolzenberg, (pictured below) did a stint as a Miami-Dade Police department spokesman. He knows very well that it's perfectly legal to photograph cops and publish their pictures.

Miami-Dade Police Major Glenn Stolzenberg on the look-out for terrorists
at a recent Super Bowl.
Miami New Times managing editor Tim Elfrink argues that if the cops were in fact monitoring Miller's Facebook page, it should have been evident to even the least experienced among them that Miller's schtick goes something like this:

1) Show up where there are lots of police.
2) Take their pictures.
3) Get arrested.
4) Go to jail.

Miller, who at times, can be annoying and abrasive, doesn't exactly fit the profile of a terrorist. There's nothing on his Facebook page that's even remotely subversive. That's pretty much evident to everyone who visits it. Everyone except Major Glenn Stlozenberg and the super-sleuths at Miami-Dade's Homeland Security Bureau.

Sleep well, Miami-Dade taxpayers...Major Stolzenberg is on the case!

So, there you have it. It appears that Miami-Dade Police Director James Loftus is now in charge of of South Florida's Most Dysfunctional Police Department. Well played, Director Loftus, well played!

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