What Miami cop Javier Ortiz is and isn’t

Grant Miller

Miami Police Captain Javier Ortiz makes a habit of grabbing headlines. A City of Miami Civilian Investigative Panel (CIP) issued a report in November 2019 that he violated department rules by working more hours off-duty than are allowed. In fact, they found that his ability to turn back time would shock both Cher and Doctor Who.

Ortiz, like all cops who work for Miami, are supposed to get off-duty gigs through the department, which bills and collects from the business owner or event planner and pays the money to the officer who did the work, minus deductions for taxes and other items.

Officers aren’t supposed to work more than 16 hours of off-duty in one day and not more than 36 hours in one work week. The CIP found that Ortiz worked 66 hours during one week in Spring 2017. On one occasion, in March 2018, he put in for 27.5 hours in one day while working the Calle Ocho parade.

Obviously, Ortiz worked 24 hours straight. Then he jumped into his TARDIS, Doctor Who’s time-traveling box, backed up three hours, and worked some more, before calling it quits for the day.

But it wasn’t his abuse of the off-duty system that has landed Ortiz in water hot enough to finally cook his goose. It was a claim that he made while testifying before the City of Miami Commission.

Standing at the podium, Ortiz claimed that he was neither white nor Hispanic. He claims that he’s a black man.  He wasn’t Black when he first applied to be a cop. He put down in his application that he was a Hispanic male. He wasn’t black when he filled out his paperwork to become a sergeant.

Ortiz applied to take the lieutenant’s exam in 2014 and the captain’s exam in 2017.  It was only then that Ortiz claimed that he had African roots. How strong is his connection to Africa?  These are his words: “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 would know that if you have one drop of black in you, you’re considered black.”

Ortiz claims that his one drop of “black blood” makes him black. The claim was met with skepticism from both Commissioners Keon Hardemon and Joe Carollo. It was also met with outrage by the Miami-Dade Chapter of the NAACP and Miami’s black police union, the Miami Community Police Benevolent Association.

Ortiz is the past president of the Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents Miami cops. During his tenure from 2011 to 2017, he frequently did battle with Carollo. That was when Joe was the lone, crazy commissioner. His position with the union shielded him from the repercussions of his actions. Now, Joe Carollo has the votes to control the commission, making it bend to his will. That means things don’t look good for Javi O.

Over the years, the city has been sued and settled lawsuits from victims who have said Ortiz falsely arrested or racially profiled them. Javi has yet to find any cop worthy of discipline, even those who have killed unarmed black people. He tried to organize a boycott of Beyoncé. Ortiz came to within a hair’s breadth of losing his job in 2017 after he told his Twitter followers to go after a police critic.

Ortiz arrested New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson in 2017 for allegedly shoving him at Miami’s Rolling Loud concert. The case was dropped when no other cop who was with Javi would corroborate his story that Anderson shoved him. The fact that Ortiz refused to attend two scheduled depositions set by the defense didn’t help Javi, either.  In 2011, Ortiz claimed that someone attending an Ultra Music Festival tried to fight him and had to be tasered, but the video on scene showed that there was no threat.

Javi’s hyper aggressiveness might have a chemical source. He cut a commercial for BodyRx, a testosterone replacement clinic, touting both his membership in the City of Miami Police Department and that he is testosterone deficient. Now, the City of Miami may be exploring how to fire Ortiz finally and make it stick. Word is that Mayor Francis Suarez and Police Chief Jorge Colina have met to discuss how to get rid of Ortiz. Javi’s breaking Police Department regulations about overtime may finally give the city enough legal grounds to rip the shield from his shirt.

While Javier Ortiz might have been able to say with a straight face that he’s black, here’s hoping the City of Miami does the right thing so that Ortiz will have to truthfully say that he is no longer a cop.

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