MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami's police chief Manuel Orosa has been at odds with his officers for some time. Now the public feud between the union and the city just became a little more intense, as the chief is now taking officers guns away when they visit city hall.
It stems from an incident earlier this month when Miami police officers protested pay cuts at city hall. The police union overtook the commission meeting - creating a standoff. Would on-duty cops physically remove off-duty cops? The answer we watched and found was - no. The cops eventually left on their own accord.
In the wake of the incident, the police chief sent out a threatening email to take legal action should it happen again. This week the chief issued a new policy stating "Officers are prohibited from carrying firearms into City Hall while a meeting of a government body is in session unless they are on duty and handling a call, assigned to City Hall, or as authorized by the Chief of Police."
In other words if this happens again the chief wants everyone unarmed.
"The chief of police has lost control of his police officers. We have absolutely no respect for him." Javier Ortiz, President of the Fraternal Order of Police, told CBS4. "This is solely an intimidating position made by the chief in order to silence us." he continued. Ortiz calls it straight up politics, a power grab. We reached out to the chief to hear his side but he declined.
Could it be Miami Commissioners felt threatened by their own police force?
"It got escalated and I don't think, it's prophylactic, they don't want to see anything happen," said Chairman Marc Sarnoff. He believes the new policy is about getting the officers back in line. Sarnoff explained,"They sort of acted as a mob and they had a mob mentality. I think that's what militated the chief of police to come up with a policy determination that if you don't have business at city hall and you're coming in a protest manner you shouldn't be armed."
Ortiz fired back at the order "I think it's extremely disturbing. I don't understand why the chief of police would make such a rash decision." He plans to legally challenge it citing federal law. He added,"We have citizens with concealed weapon licenses who can enter city hall at any time; however, at this time he is banning our Miami police officers from doing that."
Next week is when the next city commission meeting takes place. The union is saying they will be there.
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