Miami, FL – An outspoken, Hispanic Miami police captain who told city council members that he was black has been suspended pending an investigation (video below).
Miami Police Captain Javier Ortiz, the police department’s former SWAT team commander, has been notorious for controversial social media posts over the years that infuriated police and city officials, the Miami Herald reported.
But Capt. Ortiz may have taken things a step too far when he declared himself a black man on Jan. 17 to city commissioners who were meeting to hear grievances by the leaders of the city’s black police union.
Community Police Benevolent Association President Stanley Jean-Poix used Capt. Ortiz as an example while talking to commissioners about the mistreatment of black officers by the department and a lack of promotions, the Miami Herald reported.
Jean-Poix pointed to Capt. Ortiz’s rise through the ranks of the Miami Police Department despite having a multitude of complaints and having claimed to be black on two promotion exams.
Commission Chairman Keon Hardemon gave Capt. Ortiz, who was present, the opportunity to respond to the union leader’s assertions.
Capt. Ortiz, who is the former president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), stood up said the characterization of him as a “Latin” man was incorrect.
“I’m a black male. Yes I am. And I am not Hispanic. I was born in this country. That’s how I feel,” Capt. Ortiz told the assembled commissioners.
Hardemon asked the captain what he had said he was when he applied to the police department and Capt. Ortiz conceded that he’d described himself as a Hispanic male.
However, he said in the video that was before he learned that there were people in his family who were mixed.
“Let’s not talk about the degree of blackness,” Hardemon went to cut him off.
“Oh no, you’re blacker than me,” Capt. Ortiz replied in the video. “That’s obvious. And if you know anything about the one-drop rule which started in the 20th century – which is what identifies and defines what a black male is or a negro – you’d know that if you have one drop of black in you, you are considered black.
“You’re probably black too,” he told a white city commissioner.
“Nobody sent me here. Nor did the city manager. I am my own man,” he said.
“Right. And you’re your own black man, I know,” a commissioner replied.
“Yes,” Capt. Ortiz replied. “So now I’m being attacked.”
He then informed the commissioners that half of his family was Jewish right before they told him that his time was up.
“Mr. Ortiz claimed that he was a black, now we hear Jewish black. I’m afraid maybe next month he’ll be a black Jewish woman,” one of the commissioners joked.
Capt. Ortiz has been annoying city leaders for years, including his time as president of the FOP, the Miami Herald reported.
In 2016, he famously announced that Miami police were boycotting Beyoncé’s performance at Marlins Park after she made an anti-police music video.
The captain also previously criticized the city’s highest-ranking female officer, who is Muslim, for not putting her hand over her heart during the Pledge of Allegiance, according to the Miami Herald.
Black community leaders also objected to his comments on the police-involved shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland or his open support of former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson during the riots over his shooting of Michael Brown.
The local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chairman sent a letter to the police chief, the city commission, and the mayor after Capt. Ortiz’s outburst at the city commission meeting, the Miami Herald reported.
Ruben Roberts called the captain’s remarks to the commission “racially and culturally insensitive, disturbing and untrue.”
“Ortiz’s behavior is a stain on the city of Miami and especially to the officers who work arduously to perform their sworn task to protect and serve in a fair and impartial way,” Roberts wrote. “The Miami-Dade branch calls for Capt. Javier Ortiz immediate dismissal for his reckless behavior as a city of Miami police officer.”
Miami Deputy Police Chief Ronald Papier announced on Jan. 22 that Capt. Ortiz had been suspended with pay “pending an investigation,” the Miami Herald reported.
However, Chief Papier declined to go into any detail about what they were investigating.
Capt. Ortiz’s latest antics may have crossed the line even for his own police union, the Miami Herald reported.
“I am embarrassed and saddened by Javier’s public comments,” current FOP President Tommy Reyes said. “He can identify however he’d like, but I do not believe he is a black male. Ultimately, when the time comes it will be up to our members if he will receive representation.”
Reyes said he couldn’t guarantee that the former FOP president would have union backing this time, the Miami Herald reported.
Watch the captain’s statement to the commission in the video below: