Any kid who grew up in the 1960s can tell you that he or she has a gut feeling for when the United States Supreme Court decided the case of Miranda v. Arizona. That decision forced every arresting officer to read a warning to suspects telling them that they had the right to remain silent.
Jack Webb, star and producer of NBC’s “Dragnet” must have had Detectives Joe Friday and Bill Gannon recite it at least twice a show beginning in 1967, from beginning to end, all 74 words. The reason? Without the warning, anything a suspect said could be used against him in a court of law.
It’s been engrained into the cultural consciousness. Everyone understands you don’t say something incriminating or stupid to a cop.
Everyone, it seems, except Joe Carollo.
Revoltin’ Joe has been at war with the owners of Ball & Chain, the Calle Ocho tavern who had the audacity to support Carollo’s opponent in the last election. Doing the worst imitation of Sylvester Stallone from “Judge Dredd”, Joe reportedly told the bar’s valet, “I am the law!” He sicced the City’s Code Enforcement cadets on Ball & Chain and got slapped back with a federal lawsuit that is still pending in the U.S. District Court.
Now, Joe’s got a new genius plan to get back at Ball & Chain. He put an item on the consent agenda to have the City of Miami enact an ordinance that will forbid City cops from working off-duty for “establishments that hold a 4COP or a 4COP SRX/SFS license”, namely bars and taverns that serve not only beer and wine, but liquor, too.
The reason stated in the proposed ordinance? “Because the conduct of the officer, employee, or clientele of the establishment detracts from MPD’s professional stature,” the legislation reads.
The jingle of “Dragnet” sounded like “Dum-ta-dum-dum. Dum-ta-dum-dum-dum.” What Joe is proposing is more than a little dumb. It’s moronic.
Will it prevent off-duty Miami cops from working at bars? Yes. Will it prevent all off-duty cops from working at bars in the City of Miami? No. I’m sure that Miami-Dade Police officers will be happy to take over these jobs. County cops have arrest jurisdiction even in the City limits.
Or bars could hire armed security guards for a lot less than it costs to employ an officer. If an establishment needs a brooding omnipresence at the front door to keep order, it will happen one way or another.
City of Miami cops will lose out on a lucrative gig and those who need the extra money for their families or to put a kid through college will be out of luck.
Why is Carollo really doing this? He resigned as a public service aide at Miami International Airport, never being able to make the jump to being a full-fledged policeman. He was more akin to a tricycle than racing bike. Maybe this is his way to get back at those he thought that had done him wrong.
If this is the reason, his healthcare benefits with the City of Miami now include\ mental health care. He needs to schedule time with a therapist and work out his feelings of inadequacy. He doesn’t need to take out his hostility towards Ball & Chain by picking the pockets of Miami’s Finest.
At this point, two things need to be done to put Joe back in his place. One of the other four Commissioners needs to object and to have the item taken off the consent agenda. If he really wants to push this, let him put it on the full agenda where Joe will have to face the public, the press, and Miami’s cops and fully explain why he’s taking opportunities away from them.
The second thing is that the Miami Fraternal Order of Police needs to step up and form a committee to recall Joe Carollo. I’ve already written about how it can be done. And I’ve also written about the reasons that could be put forth to satisfy the causation requirements on the recall petitions themselves.
Joe had the right to remain silent. But like every defendant on “Dragnet”, he insisted on talking. His words should be used against him in the court of public opinion.