Miami Police Capt. Javier Ortiz was suspended with pay after identifying himself as a “black male” in a promotion exam citing the century-old “one drop” rule. Ortiz, who is Cuban-American and has a history of racist antics, received a slap on the wrist from Chief Jorge Colina with a disciplinary action of suspension with pay.
During Ortiz’s city commission meeting on racial equality on Friday, he cited the old Jim Crow law, according to Miami’s Local 10. “I’m a black male. Yes, I am, and I am not Hispanic. I was born in this country,” Ortiz said.
He continued, “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 are considered black.”
Per Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, Colina released a statement which said that Capt. Ortiz was relieved of duty with pay and “he will be meeting with the chief to further discuss,” according to Miami’s CBS 4.
Expectedly, Ortiz’s actions have been met with backlash from the Black community accusing him of not only lying and misrepresenting the oath he made as a police officer, but also for insulting Black people and using their race as a means of getting a promotion, as said by Sgt. Stanley Jean-Poix, president of Miami’s Community Police Benevolent Association.
The Miami-Dade chapter of the NAACP is calling for Ortiz’s firing as he has a history of troubling actions including “50 investigations for the CIP, which is a police oversight committee” and over “14 internal investigations,” according to Local 10. He has also been accused of harassing people in the community and has been suspended, aside from his most recent suspension.
Colina has been accused of being racist as well, according to a report from WSVN. The Miami Community Police Benevolent Association pushed for the police chief to be ousted in Nov. 2019 due to an “inability to stop a hostile work environment for black officers.” Ramon Carr, the vice president of the Black police union, stated that the complaints made against Colina are from within the Miami Police Department.
“The story is racism,” Carr said. “What happens inside affects outside, so if I don’t have competent leadership, I don’t have competent investigators, I don’t have a competent process to complain. How does that affect the community?”
The MCPBA has about 300 members and represents 60 sworn-in officers, according to WSVN. Additionally, Miami Police Deputy Chief Ronald Papier and Miami Police Assistant Chief Cherise Gause said that a fourth of the police department’s staff is Black, which is reflective of the agency in its’ entirety.
Claims have been made accusing Colina of ignoring the racism within the department, but Papier defended the police chief claiming that isn’t the case. “That is absolutely false. The chief has been very clear and very transparent,” he said. “Allegations of discrimination, they’re always investigated. Some officers have actually been terminated.”
Members of the MCPBA have noted that there are issues with internal affairs and officers in leadership roles as well, adding that the change has to come from the top.