Eventually, Merino took the witness seat — Town Clerk Herlina Taboada swore in each witness under oath — to defend his report. Herrera worked him hard and eventually got him to admit that nowhere among those 95 pages did anything indicate that Olmedo had broken any laws or violated any codes of conduct.
Herrera also took issue and harped on the fact that Said-Jinete was herself the complainant, initiating the process, thus she should have eventually recused herself from evaluating the review and used a third party. In essence, Herrera claimed she acted as judge, jury and executioner. He also claimed that she, according to the Town Charter, had no right to terminate Olmedo without council approval.
He hammered Said-Jinete when she eventually took the witness seat, implying favoritism based on nepotism and attempted to discredit her by noting she had never held a rank of sergeant or lieutenant in the department before eventually being named to her post. Eventually, things got so heated, she lashed out at Herrera.
“You’re rude, you’re rude in your e-mails, you’re rude to this council and to my department,” said Said-Jinete. “I’m just tired of it, it’s wrong. You don’t need to be treating me this way or the way you treated Cary (Rubiera) last night.”
The key moment in Said-Jinete’s testimony came when she told of a meeting she had with Olmedo upon initially looking into the incident in which Olmedo stated as he was getting up to leave, “I f*#@*d up, you can demote me or send me to the range if you have to.” Olmedo later denied that he said that.
“My biggest problem about this was that this was something that could have gotten turned around,” said Said-Jinete. “Yes, anyone can make mistakes, but that’s not the way that this was handled. Nobody admitted to any mistakes, denied that there was an arrest. Lt. Olmedo in his position reviewed the report (but) should not have approved the report if he saw something wrong with it and fixed it. That never happened.”
When both attorneys finally concluded with their closing arguments, Pizzi instructed the council of their three options — affirm the chief’s dismissal, modify the dismissal to some other sanction, or reverse the dismissal entirely.
Surprisingly, despite close to 15 hours of testimony, there was no discussion among council members.
Vice Mayor Griselia Digiacomo quickly made the motion to affirm the chief’s dismissal, which was then followed by a good pause of 10 to 15 seconds without the motion being seconded. Pizzi then began to explain to the council that a second was needed in order to take a vote before Councilman Jack Morrow leaned up and stated, “I’ll second the motion.”
Roll call was then taken and those two, along with Susanna Guasch, Edgar Ayala and Mayor Roberto Martell all voted yes.
Perhaps wiped out and emotionally spent, the crowd, which was still there past midnight both nights, never even reacted. Just some hugs and quiet tears for Olmedo from his wife and supporters and a few handshakes on the other side was all that was left to define the moment.