They fabricated, lied, they stole files, they went to the media with cases. They have violated every content of the law that there is, she said of the officers.
My clients were not terminated for stealing files, or doing anything illegal, said Alex Pearlberg, the lawyer who filed the whistleblower lawsuit on behalf of Burden, Robinson, former Internal Affairs Capt. Larry Riley (no relation to former mayor John) and Officer Tara Lazier.
My clients were trying to make a difference... and look what happened to them.
Future chiefs failed drug tests
Cason, hired in 1984, had 22 disciplinary actions before 1991, when she was fired for testing positive twice for cocaine, once on Jan. 3, 1991, and again during another test the following day. She was rehired in 1999 after reaching a settlement with FDLE that allowed her to keep her police certification. The Herald was unable to obtain copies of the settlement, but Cason maintains the tests were tainted. The city could not find her personnel records since she was rehired.
She was promoted to chief in 2008. Cason said she is working hard to improve the departments reputation despite enormous pressure. She also said shes not surprised her files have disappeared, asserting her antagonists probably stole them to use against her.
Most recently, Cason was suspended last year by Patterson, who learned that she had failed to report an accident in her city vehicle. She allegedly broke a mirror when she was backing out of her driveway, but left the scene and failed to call an accident investigator as required by a policy she instituted.
Cason contends the accident was so minor that she considered it an incident that didnt warrant a full-blown accident investigation.
Cason believed Patterson and others were using the incident to try to force her out of the department. She is also suing the city, alleging that the department retaliated against her because she discovered that Tamika Miller, the commissioners daughter, claimed $20,000 in overtime she wasnt entitled to during a six-month period from October 2010 to April 2011.
The younger Miller, who was hired in 1996, has a stormy history with the city, but her career has still managed to flourish. She has a record for carrying a concealed firearm, and misdemeanors for shoplifting and check fraud, according to FDLE. She also has a long list of complaints against her by city employees and community members, who allege that she bullied and threatened them.
In 2000, Miller had a dispute with a woman inside an Opa-locka beauty salon. According to the police report, she asked a city code enforcement officer to take her home. There, she appeared to grab a weapon and tuck it inside the front of her pants. She asked the colleague to take her back to the salon, where she jumped out, and, according to witnesses, marched into the salon brandishing the .38 caliber firearm. The witnesses implored Miller to calm down and put the gun away, and she complied, reports indicate. She later claimed that she never had a gun. She was placed on court probation but kept her city job.
Miller has since risen to chief of code enforcement, earning $57,000 a year.
Pearlberg, who represents Miller as part of the whistleblower suit, said his client certainly had some issues with some of her co-workers, most of that, however, was quite a while ago.