Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Whatever happened to professional courtesy? - The MBPD Edition

What started out as nothing more than a nasty argument outside a Pennsylvania Avenue apartment on South Beach last April, quickly escalated into a full-scale donnybrook, fueled by alcohol and testosterone and possibly exacerbated by some Miami Beach cops who were in no mood to extend a little professional courtesy to a fellow officer.

When it was over, the cops ended up taking a West Palm Beach police officer and his "on-again, off-again" girlfriend - herself a former West Palm Beach police officer - to jail.

The episode began as one Miami Beach cop - in full Inspector Clouseau mode - hid behind some shrubbery and observed "a loud dispute which appeared to be domestic in nature," according to an arrest report. (Embedded below)

The argument "corrupted the sense of public decency and disturbed the peace on an otherwise quiet night in a residential neighborhood," the indignant officer wrote in his report.

After he'd seen enough, the cop popped out from behind the bushes and confronted Julian Santana, a West Palm Beach police officer. Santana responded by refusing to show his identification.

Christina Arroyo
While this is going on, the cop's "on-again, off-again" girlfriend, former cop Christina Arroyo, started taunting other Miami Beach cops who had responded to the fracas, asking them - according to the arrest form - "If we drank on duty at the Clevelander, if we've run over any tourists with ATV's recently, and if we have shaken down any club owners lately."

When cops finally got the squabbling duo separated and in handcuffs, they charged Arroyo with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence. Santana was charged with hindering/obstructing justice (because of his refusal to show his identification) and resisting arrest without violence.

Today, Miami Beach attorney Michael Grieco told me by email that....
Both of defendants' cases went away after or during trial today.

Miami-Dade County Judge Steve Leifman found Ms. Arroyo not guilty of disorderly conduct and resisting without violence after the court determined that her underlying conduct, which was simply constitutionally protected speech, was legal.

Mr. Santana had his case was dismissed mid-trial after the Court determined that he was legally entitled to refuse the officer's demand for identification. Any subsequent resisting by the defendants was deemed legal, as their arrests were not.
So there you have it boys and girls.

You can talk loud outside your apartment all you want - the Constitution says have the right to do so.

And if you haven't done anything wrong, the police don't have the right to ask for your identification. But if the cops show up and start asking questions...please be nice. That way they'll go away quickly.

I wonder how much this bogus arrest cost the taxpayers of Miami Beach?

According to the arrest reports, at least four Miami Beach police officers, two sergeants and a crime scene technician responded to the April 25, 2012 incident.

God only knows how much the couple spent on legal fees.

I hope that officer Santana and his "on-again, off-again girlfriend" don't get into it again and that they've kissed and made up.

However, officer Santana would do well to heed a few of Chris Rock's tips on how to avoid confrontations with the police...something he should already know, i.e.: Be polite and stay away from crazy women!

Santana Arroyo Arrest

Santana Arroyo Arrest2

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