Ousted Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito won’t get to ask an appeals court to reinstate him to his old job.
The Third District Court of Appeal on Thursday said it won’t hear Exposito’s legal claim, which was already denied by a lower court.
“It looks like this may be the end of the road for the former chief,” Miami City Attorney Julie O. Bru said.
Exposito said he was disappointed with the decision.
“The fact that they didn’t even give us an opportunity to present our oral arguments, that leaves a bad taste in my mouth,” he said.
He acknowledged he has no further legal recourse, and said he was looking forward to “moving on.”
The former chief was fired in September after being suspended for insubordination. He had been fighting to get his job back ever since.
Exposito argued that he was never actually subordinate to City Manager Johnny Martinez.
His claim: Martinez had forbidden him from demoting three high-ranking police officers. But Exposito said he merely reassigned the officers, since he didn’t change their rank or dock their pay.
Exposito also said the commission failed to follow city code by not firing him within five days of his suspension. The commission waited a week to render a decision because his termination hearing ran late on a Friday night. Commissioners reconvened on Monday morning.
Though the lower courts ruled against Exposito, the former chief remained defiant in his quest to win damages from the city and return to his old post.
His legal fight mirrored his short, but controversial, run as head of the department.
Exposito frequently clashed with Mayor Tomás Regalado, most notably over the video slot machines known as maquinitas. The former chief also faced intense scrutiny after Miami officers shot and killed seven black men in the inner city. The department is now the subject of a federal civil rights probe.
All the while, Exposito said he was being run out for political reasons.
On Friday, Exposito said the court’s refusal to take up the case sets a dangerous precedent for future police chiefs.
“The position that the courts have taken is that it’s OK for politicians to interfere in the police department,” he said. “That should be disappointing to the citizens of this community.”