City Manager Johnny Martinez said last week he was limited to what he could say because the police department is negotiating a final settlement agreement with the Justice Department.
“We agree with some of the Justice Department’s findings and disagree with others,” Martinez said Friday. “But we are confident we can resolve our differences and move forward with the settlement under a court review.”
Martinez said that some issues have already been addressed, noting that the police department has already dismantled certain plainclothes squads. Several of the controversial fatal shootings involved such specialized squads, which the Justice report found were hampered by weak tactical planning, inadequate supervision and failures in after-incident analysis.
Miami Fraternal Order of Police President Javier Ortiz said the union agrees that the department has training deficiencies and lacks supervisors on the street.
But overall, Ortiz said, “There is clearly a disconnect between the [Justice Department] and the reality of what our Miami police officers confront on a daily basis.” Ortiz said he was troubled that the report “gives the impression that the Miami Police Department is run like the wild, wild west.”
Ortiz took issue with Justice for pointing out that Goyos, the officer who killed McNeil in 2011, had been involved in a non-shooting role in a 2008 case that is still under investigation. Federal officials said that had the police department fully investigated that previous shooting, “perhaps retraining or other corrective action may have been taken” to prevent the McNeil fatality.
Ortiz said the reality was that he, Goyos and other officers provided backup for a police sergeant who was confronted by a man aiming a loaded gun at the sergeant. “That was absolutely a justified shooting,” Ortiz said.
Still, Ortiz said Friday that his union wants to be part of the solution “in order to find a happy medium for the community, police department and police officers to embrace.”