When the Miami City Commission voted Thursday to give police officers the discretion to issue civil citations for misdemeanor marijuana possession instead of making an arrest, two commissioners were conspicuously absent.
Francis Suarez and Frank Carollo -- the former running for mayor, the latter mulling a run -- disappeared from the dais when the item came up in the evening. They missed the unanimous vote by Wifredo "Willy" Gort, Keon Hardemon and Ken Russell to enter into a three-year civil citation compact with the county, which implemented citations in 2015.
The agreement allows police to issue fines for several misdemeanor offenses, including littering and theft of shopping carts (commissioners removed trespassing and loitering and prowling). But the headliner of the group was marijuana possession.
Curious about why they were missing, and how they would have voted, we called Carollo and Suarez Friday morning to get a response.
Suarez didn't remember specifically why he left the dais -- "I just wasn't there" -- but said he supports the issuance of civil citations for misdemeanor pot possession. He shared police concerns about downgrading trespassing and prowling offenses, which apparently held up the agreement for months.
Carollo, a former police officer, did not respond to a voice mail and text message left on his cell phone around 9:45 a.m.
We'll update this blog if and when he calls back.