|Entrance to 5 Star Island.|
On Dec. 6 of last year, down-on-his-luck, soon-to-be bankrupt millionaire Thomas Kramer was hosting an Art Basel-themed party for some 250 guests at his multi-million dollar, soon-to-be-foreclosed-on, Star Island home.
Somehow, word of the party leaked out, and soon the street outside his home was filled with hundreds of would-be party crashers and dozens of cars. By midnight the crowd had become, in Kramer's words, "an out of control avalanche of people" that prevented late-arriving guests from entering his property.
One of those caught in the scrum was Miami Beach's new mayor, Philip Levine. Sworn in less than two weeks before, Levine, according to one source, arrived with a sizable contingent of friends.
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Kramer responded by calling police and parking enforcement officers to his home.
Cops showed up and talked to Kramer. He told them he wanted the party crashers gone and their vehicles removed.
Cops then went back outside and told the crowd to disperse. The unruly mob responded by ignoring the order, and some continued to attempt to get inside. A few in the crowd "physically pushed the officers."
At some point, one of the officers, Giordano Cardoso, unholstered his Taser, and after removing the cartridge, aimed it at the ground and fired three short bursts or "warning arcs."
According to a just released police department Internal Affairs report on the incident [embedded below], after hearing the Taser, "the crowd began to disperse and obey the officers."
And then, according to the report, this is what happened next....
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A story on the incident in this morning's Miami Herald says:
[An] investigation of the Dec. 6 incident was instigated by then newly elected Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who told a police supervisor on the scene that officer Giordano Cardoso’s actions were "out of control" when he used his Taser to disperse a crowd trying to get into Kramer’s Star Island home.
Though Levine initiated the investigation into Cardoso, the report said he chose not to speak to investigators or give a formal statement. The mayor told the Miami Herald on Tuesday that he spoke with someone at the police department the day after the incident, but did not recall who. The internal affairs report said police made several attempts to talk to the mayor.
But Herald reporter Christina Veiga didn't aggressively question Levine on why, after filing a very serious complaint against a police officer, he went out of his way to avoid talking to Internal Affairs investigators, despite their repeated attempts to reach him.
Every witness - including Kramer, and a hostess hired by Kramer - gave police investigators essentially the same version of the incident: Officer Cardoso acted properly and defused a potentially volatile situation.
Here's what another witness, Miami Beach police officer Michael Angulo, told Internal Affairs investigators. The "male" he refers to is Mayor Levine's friend, millionaire lobbyist Christopher Korge.
And here's what parking enforcement officer Dante Zirio told investigators. The "belligerent male" he refers to is Christopher Korge.
And here's part of a statement given to investigators by Parking enforcement supervisor Eduardo Marquez. Marquez describes the actions of Levine's "friend" as "very strange."
But despite witnesses describing Korge's behavior as "belligerent" and "very strange," he told the Herald yesterday that he "wasn't disrespectful."
But how strange is it that Levine files a complaint against one of his police officers, and then dodges investigators who want his side of the story?
Political Cortadito: How convenient it must be to be able to order the police around to investigate anyone who bothers you — and twice if you don’t like the outcome the first time.
The same Levine, by the way who has no problem whining to the Herald: “You pull out a Taser, you have to be clear that you’re in the right,” Levine said. “I can’t imagine that pulling out a Taser at a Star Island Art Basel party is in the handbook.”
The Herald's story ends with Levine descending into a rabbit hole with more lies, telling the paper,
He’d have no problem with new Beach police chief Dan Oates reopening the internal probe.
That way, the mayor said, "we’ll see what’s going on."
And finally, Mayor Levine, if, in the not too distant future, you find yourself interacting with one or more your police officers who put their asses on the line for you and Miami Beach residents everyday, instead of ratting them out, you'd do well to remember this: