Miami Police Officer Geovani Nunez is one of those rare breeds of officers who doesn’t give a damn about that Blue Code of Silence that requires officers to remain silent about the misconduct of fellow officers.
Not surprisingly, he ended up getting reprimanded by the department for his “disloyalty”.
But what is surprising is that the suspensions he received were “sustained” by the Miami Civilian Investigative Panel, the agency that is supposed to serve as a voice for civilians who wind up victims of police misconduct.
In fact, this might mark the first time in the CIP’s seven year history that the complaining party was the Miami Police Department. So much for that small glimmer of hope to keep things honest in this city.
Perhaps the CIP was trying to get on the good side of Miami Police Chief John Timoney, who has repeatedly snubbed their demand that he testify about driving a free Lexus for more than a year without reporting it.
Perhaps we need to create a civilian’s investigative panel to investigate the Civilian Investigative Panel for they are clearly working against civilians when they reprimand an officer who had the guts to speak his mind about what he thought was an unjust arrest last year.
The story, reported in this week’s Miami SunPost, stems from a SunPost article written by Rebecca Wakefield last year.
In that article, Wakefield interviewed Nunez about the arrest of Club Space owner Louis Puig and Club Space’s general manager Markus Westreicher over an alleged noise violation in downtown Miami, home of one of the few 24-hour liquor districts in the world.
Nunez, who was working off-duty that night, was ordered to pat the men down, but couldn’t understand why they were being arrested. He said there were no citizen complaints nor did police ever use a noise meter.
According to Wakefield’s column, Nunez said:
“I’m watching this, everyone on the scene were all dazed and confused as to what they were going to charge them with,” Nunez recalled. “The [law enforcement statute] book is open in the trunk of Officer Simmons’ car and they are scanning page by page. That right there told me they didn’t know what they’re doing.”
Nunez said that after the men were arrested, Miami Police Lt. Bernard Johnson walked up to him and said:
“Your loyalty lies with the city of Miami. I don’t care if you disagree with the arrest. It’s a good arrest.”
Nunez, who had already been reprimanded by the department for questioning the arrest at the time he was being interviewed by Wakefield, said he was unafraid to go on the record.
“I’m tired of the silence,” he replied. “They can stick that blue line up their ass.”
The charges against Puig and Westreicher were dropped in part because of Nunez’ comments in Wakefield’s story.
But the 14-member CIP still believed that Nunez was out of line because he spoke to a reporter without going through a public information officer, who every police reporter knows, are purposely kept out of the loop in order to maintain that Blue Code of Bullshit.
Incidentally, Nunez has retained the same lawyer who represented Puig and Westreicher, Alex Fox.
Only one member of the CIP, Cornelius Shiver, voted against reprimanding Nunez. Shiver, in fact, saw MPD’s suspension against Nunez for what it was – “retaliation”.
“Not only did I see it as retaliation, but I see some issues internally in the department,” Shiver said Wednesday. “The complaining party is the city of Miami Police Department — that should raise a red flag right there.”
I’m glad I never filed a complaint with the CIP after my arrest, even though several people advised me to do it. It is obvious they have no respect for Nunez’s First Amendment rights, who spoke to Wakefield on his own time.
Last thing I need is for them to “sustain” my arrest for expressing my First Amendment rights.
Ed. Note: Photograph replaced in 2016. Links changed from Miami SunPost originals to Archive.org. RIP SunPost.