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GLBT Business Enhancement Committee told fired Miami Beach police officers could get jobs back

Miami Beach LGBT Business Enhancement Committee 002

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Miami Beach Assistant Police Chief Ray Martinez met with members of the city's GLBT Business Enhancement Committee on Tuesday to discuss the firing of two officers accused of beating and falsely arresting a gay tourist in 2009.

Fired officers Frankly Forte and Eliut Hazzi "are contesting their terminations," Martinez told committee members including chairman Dan Spring, Michael Bath of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, photographer Dale Stine, events promoter Edison Farrow, Jorge Richa of the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and police department liaison Detective Juan Sanchez.

Forte and Hazzi were fired more than a year after former South Beach resident Harold Strickland said he witnessed them beating another gay man, Oscar Daniel Mendoza, near Flamingo Park in March 2009.

Not knowing Strickland had called 911 on his cellphone to report the beating, Forte and Hazzi then accused him of loitering and arrested him.

Strickland told a 911 dispatcher that the officers were kicking Mendoza in the head like “a football” when Forte and Hazzi stopped him and the line went dead.

Strickland filed a lawsuit, which the city settled for $75,000.

The officers, fired Aug. 1, are being represented by the city's police union and could demand the case be taken to arbitration.

An arbitration decision would be binding, Martinez told the committee, and the city could end up having to rehire Forte and Hazzi.

That's unlikely, he said.

"We have a very good case," he said. "We would not have pushed forward if we had not."

Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower and City Manager Jorge Gonzalez also attended Tuesday's 1 p.m. monthly meeting, which began after committee member Chip Arndt reminded colleagues that "members of the press are present."

Click photo to view more pictures from the meeting. Photos by STEVE ROTHAUS/ Miami Herald Staff.

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How can they get their jobs back if they are in jail for battery?

No charges have been filed against the officers.

The mayor needs to step down because she obviously not in control of this corrupt criminal organization. For 2 terms it was nothing but a fake gay friendly talk, while police was becoming more homophobic, aggressive and corrupt. The fix was to hire more corrupt gay people. Whatch how they will now put blacks in charge when the Memorial Day lawsuits will begin. People in Miami Beach just have no rights when it comes to complaining against the police. The police union dictates and controls everything! and this is called a free country?! what a joke. Taxpayers of Miami beach are total losers here. They have 0 rights against its police and no one is doing anything about it! I was attacked by officers Mirko Vasilievich, Rosa Olivo, and Joseph Hart because they thought I was gay after they found a condom on me. These officers are obsessed with single males at night. Than the internal affairs did the cover up and dragged the investigation for as long as they could. Sgt Caroline Chin was in charge of the cover up. This was before the Strickland's case. She didnt do anything she was asked to do and acted like i was making things up. If it wasn't for the Strickland's publicity they would've never done anything about my complaint. Then they just assigned the case to one of the officers who authorized the illegal arrest, Rey Aguilar. THis was a total waste of time, while they all got paid to do nothing. What kind of investigation process is this?! It's a joke! and they each make like $100k a year for being so corrupt, wow! These mob is terrorizing the community for way too long. It's unacceptable that taxpayers can not investigate police unless they can pay $20K for a lawyer. Shame on Miami Beach, shame on the local press, shame on the mayor! For 2 terms these woman can not see that none of the police cars have dash cams?! How convenient! Anyone who was a victim of these people must contact FBI and the Department of Justice under Color of Law violations. Do not waste time with these corrupt lazy uneducated people at Miami beach! Or sue them if you have extra $10-20K to spare. Sue them hard until they are all out of work, and their assets are taken away from them.
Yeah, and this gay friendly mayor Matti can go to hell together with her new lesbian captain of the internal affairs that is unable to answer any simple questions. It's time to clean the house!

In all fairness to the Police department and the city of Miami Beach, the Strickland case has helped the department in developing Gay and Lesbian sensitivity training for its officers and working with the GLBT community to ensure this type of event does not happen again in the future. It was also clear from the meeting ( that I chaired ) that Chief Martinez was confident that the two officers would NOT be rehired but the process must be completed before we can completely put this issue behind us. As of today, the first two of four steps that the fired officers are entitled to take have denied them there jobs back.

Unfortunately this should have been a multi-million dollar lawsuit. That would have given it the attention it deserves.

Disgusting. Coupled with other MBPD events, why has Miami-Dade not co-opted this obviously corrupt and completely incapable force and then cleaned house?

The chief should not be retiring, he should be heading to jail for theft of taxpayer money. He certainly didn't "chief" anything, nor serve, nor protect.

Disgusting.

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