Opa-locka

Opa-locka fires troubled cop again, but he says it’s a witch hunt

 

Opa-locka fired Sgt. German Bosque, continuing his dubious distinction of being disciplined, suspended, and fined more than any officer in the state.

dmoskovitz@MiamiHerald.com

The Opa-locka police officer who has been arrested and jailed three times and fired at least six times is once again without a job.

On Wednesday, Opa-locka Assistant City Manager David Chiverton confirmed that Sgt. German Bosque, who had been disciplined, suspended and fined multiple times during his 19 years on the force, was terminated.

Bosque, 49, has been a source of negative attention for the troubled city, which has tried to fire him before. But each time, he has gotten his job back.

He said Wednesday he intends to fight this termination, which he said was targeted and unfair.

“It’s a witch hunt,’’ he said. “They found something to fire me for.”

The reason for the most recent termination: Bosque was not in possession of his department-issued weapon when it was requested — a violation of a rule requiring that officers never lose track of their city-issued firearms, Chiverton said.

The weapon has since been found, Chiverton said. He did not say for how long the weapon was gone.

“To some degree, his weapon was not in his possession when it was requested,” Chiverton said, adding later, “If it’s not in your possession, that creates a liability to the city.”

Bosque said the latest termination is over a technicality — he said he left his AR-15 weapon at home and had it back in less than a half hour — and called it another step in the department’s ongoing efforts against him.

City officials did not release any details about the weapon violation. But Bosque provided a copy of his termination letter, which outlined the city’s case against him.

According to Wednesday’s termination letter, Bosque was relieved of duty with pay on April 19, “pending a criminal investigation.” He said he had been out for about a week but, before he left, he removed his AR-15 weapon, bulletproof vest and binoculars from his squad car, which was left in the motor pool .

He said he put the items in the trunk of his personal car — a Toyota Carolla at home — because he felt they were less likely to be stolen there than from the motor pool. Opa-locka has no gun lockers at the department, Bosque said.

On April 19, someone dropped him off at the motor pool to pick up his squad car, which he drove to the department. His AR-15 and other equipment were left in his personal vehicle.

When he showed up, Assistant Chief Antonio Sanchez said he needed to immediately turn in his weapon, based on the ongoing criminal investigation. Bosque said he immediately called home and had his girlfriend’s father bring the car so he could retrieve the AR-15 and the rest of the equipment.

The whole episode took no more than 10 or 15 minutes, he said.

On Wednesday, nearly six months later, the city gave him a letter of termination, based on him not having his weapon. Bosque said he doesn’t know anything about the criminal investigation against him.

“And they want to fire me over that?” Bosque said Wednesday. “That’s the least I’ve ever been fired for.”

Chiverton did not giving any details on the criminal investigation into Bosque, saying only that it was still ongoing.

The termination letter explains what happened April 19 differently. It says that Bosque gave the rifle to his father, “exposing the City to liability and demonstrates your lack of qualifications, good judgment and character required to be a police officer.”

The letter also sites a 2008 “last chance agreement” Bosque signed, essentially promising to follow the rules and have good conduct. When asked why the letter hadn’t come up before, assistant city manager Chiverton said “I guess, through the administrative process, they just made sure they went through everything this time.”

Bosque can appeal his termination. He said the city has been looking for any reason to fire him.

He has been disciplined, suspended, fined and sent home with pay more than any officer in the state. Though Opa-locka has fired him before, he has been able to get his job back.

He said he intends to fight this latest termination because, at this point, “nobody else is gonna touch me.”

He points to a list of commendations over the years and all his successful appeals. He expects this time to end the same way — with Opa-locka giving him his job back.

“I love being a policeman,” he said. “I love being a public servant. I love what I do.”

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