A Miami police officer admitted to seizing a man’s phone for his “safety,” but the cop never returned the phone, even after the man was released from jail and charges were quickly dropped..
Nevertheless, the department’s internal affairs division concluded there was not enough evidence to prove that Miami police officer Daniel Crocker stole the phone.
However, Sergio Morales filed a complaint with the city’s Civilian Investigative Panel and concluded that the cop did steal the phone, not that the agency has any authority to discipline the cop. It can only make recommendations to the department, which are usually ignored.
So as usual, the cop, who already has a long list of complaints against him, will continue terrorizing the citizens he is sworn to protect and Morales will probably file a lawsuit against the city, resulting in taxpayers dishing out a settlement.
If anything, the lawsuit might lead to Crocker’s resignation, which is what happened to two other Miami cops, Reynaldo Irias and Yesid Ortiz, who arrested a man named Mario Cordoba for recording in 2015.
The latest incident took place on March 8, 2017 at 2:30 a.m. after Morales, an Uber driver, had pulled over to pick up a customer and Crocker walked up to his car and rapped on his window.
According to the Miami New Times:
When the driver asked Crocker if he was a cop or a security guard, he says, the cop threatened to arrest him. That’s when Morales pulled out his phone to record the conversation and things really went to hell.
Crocker ended up taking the driver’s phone, never giving it back, and arresting the Uber driver for resisting an officer and refusal to obey police commands, charges that were quickly dropped. That’s what the Civilian Investigative Panel, an independent body that considers police complaints, found when they looked into Morales’ complaints. While MPD’s internal affairs unit said there wasn’t enough evidence to show Crocker stole the phone, the CIP said the case was clear — and recommended sustaining the charge against the cop.
According to the CIP investigation, the minute Morales told the cop he was recording, Crocker yanked the phone out of his hand and told him he was under arrest. In fact, the officer admitted as much in his arrest report.
“I told the defendant to put down the electronic device and he refuses to put down the electronic device and he refused those commands,” Crocker wrote in an arrest affidavit. He then claimed that being recorded was somehow a “safety” issue. “For my safety I had to physically take the electronic device from the defendant’s hand.”
So even though the phone was a key piece of evidence to justify the arrest, at least in Crocker’s mind, the phone was never entered as evidence.
Crocker also did not include the phone with Morales’ other personal items in the jail’s property room, which included his driver’s license, insurance card, keys, a watch, bracelet and wallet.
The phone was also not left in Morales’ car, the investigative panel determined.
In fact, Morales had to buy a replacement phone to continue working as an Uber driver.
And Crocker is already listed in another suit where a man alleges he was falsely arrested after refusing to allow cops to search his car. Also listed in that lawsuit is Miami police union president Javier Ortiz, whom we have written about in the past.
Crocker has also been investigated by the Civilian Investigative Panel in 2016 for improper procedure when a citizen filed a complaint that Crocker had been overly aggressive during a routine traffic stop.
But the investigative agency determined that complaint was unfounded. However, in its January 2017 report, they stated the following:
Officer Crocker was hired on 10/15/2001 and has had 1 administrative complaint, 18 citizen complaints, 1 driving complaint, and 19 use of force incidents.
So this is a cop who learned long ago that he can get away with these egregious acts.