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Timoney loses free SUV-probe appeal

A Miami police civilian oversight panel had the right to investigate Police Chief John Timoney for his much-criticized use of a free SUV from Lexus of Kendall, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled Sept. 3rd.

The Miami Civilian Investigative Panel had twice issued subpoenas for Timoney to testify in its investigation, which he later did -- despite his court appeal.

Timoney had argued in Miami-Dade Circuit Court that the investigative panel had no jurisdiction over him in internal investigations.

The appeal court Wednesday disagreed, stressing the panel's investigation was "an independent, external investigation."

The CIP in July ruled the chief violated multiple internal department rules. Miami's voter-created civilian panel can issue subpoenas but has no power to punish officers.

"I have already testified under oath in this matter, months prior to this decision coming out, " Timoney said in a statement Wednesday. "I have stated all along that I would respect the court's decision and I stand by that statement. This appeal was based on principle from the beginning."

Timoney has been fined $500 each by the state and county ethics board for failing to disclose he accepted use of the SUV for more than a year.

In January, he was docked a week's pay by City Manager Pete Hernandez.

"For the CIP, it's extremely important because no one can investigate the police chief administratively -- obviously, internal affairs works directly for him, " said Armando Aguilar, police union president and Timoney's chief adversary.