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Appeals court again upholds power of Miami’s Civilian Investigative Panel

An appeals court has struck down a police officer’s challenge to the validity of Miami’s Civilian Investigative Panel — the second time the panel has withstood a legal challenge from police officers in the past five years.

Police Lt. Freddy D’Agastino and the Fraternal Order of Police filed a lawsuit arguing that the civilian panel, which reviews citizen complaints against officers and makes recommendations to the police chief, had no legal authority to investigate officers.

But in a ruling on Wednesday, the Third District Court of Appeal found that the panel neither conflicts with state or local law, nor intrudes on the police department’s power to discipline its officers. The CIP does not have the authority to discipline officers, though it does have the power to subpoena records and witnesses in its own investigations.

The appeals court also upheld the panel’s authority in 2008, when then-Police Chief John Timoney sought to prevent the panel from investigating him.