In what could be a textbook case on how difficult it can be to fire a police officer, a former Opa-locka police sergeant who has been arrested three times, dismissed and reinstated five times and has a list of complaints against him longer than any other officer in the state is fighting to get his job back — again.
During his 20-year career, former Sgt. German “GB” Bosque has been accused of cracking the head of a handcuffed suspect, beating juveniles, hiding drugs in his police car, stealing from suspects, defying direct orders and lying and falsifying police reports. He once called in sick to take a vacation to Cancún.
So far, he has managed to keep his badge, although that may change next month when the Florida Department of Law Enforcement attempts to revoke his police certification.
Bosque, 49, was fired for the sixth time last year for allowing his future father-in-law to handle his department issued high-powered assault rifle.
At an appeals hearing before an arbitrator Wednesday, Opa-locka Lt. Alex Hernandez said Bosque was told to turn in all his weapons last April after being relieved of duty in connection with another unrelated complaint filed against him. Bosque said that all his weapons and equipment were in his police vehicle — except for the assault rifle, an AR-15 with the power to fire 30 rounds at a clip.
“Daddy has it,’’ he allegedly said when asked where it was, explaining that he was referring to his fiancée Liddy’s father, a security guard who he said lives with him and his wife-to-be in North Miami.
The weapon was assigned to him by the department and, under police policy, Bosque is required to store the weapon in a safe place to protect it from “unauthorized use.’’ In addition, as part of a 2008 settlement allowing him to return to the force, he was warned that any future breach of department policy would be cause for dismissal, records show.
City attorney Joseph Geller said allowing a civilian to handle the department’s most lethal weapon clearly violated policy.
“This is not your buttons aren’t shining. This is not your shoes weren’t polished. This is not you did not snap the salute crisply ... This is an assault weapon capable of firing multiple high-velocity rounds,’’ Geller said.
The Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association, which has successfully defended Bosque during his career, contends that the officer, for all practical purposes, stored the weapon in the safest place he could have stored it: in a locked warehouse in Opa-locka near the police station.
Andrew Axelrad, attorney for the police union, also argued that the department violated Bosque’s rights, failed to conduct an adequate investigation and used the incident as an excuse to try to fire him because his past had gained him notoriety in the media.
“All the police department has to do is do a thorough and fair investigation, which would have concluded he did nothing wrong,’’ Axelrad said. “The idea that he’s the poster boy is only because the city has conducted lousy upon lousy investigations. There is a reason he has had his job awarded back to him.’’
His future father-in-law, David A. Reynolds, 55, is a security guard employed by Commercial Security Services, a security firm owned by Bosque.
Reynolds is licensed to carry a firearm while on the job but is not authorized to carry a high-powered assault weapon. Court records show he has been arrested twice on charges of theft, in 2004 and 2006. Both times adjudication was withheld. He did not serve jail time.
Bosque told his commanders that he gave the rifle to Reynolds for safekeeping when he became concerned about leaving it in his police car while his car was being serviced in the department’s motor pool.
He also gave Reynolds a bulletproof police vest with the word “POLICE” on the back.
But Axelrad said that Bosque stored the rifle in the locked trunk of Reynolds’ Toyota Corolla sedan, which was parked inside a secure concrete warehouse that Bosque uses to for his business. Only Bosque and Reynolds held keys to the warehouse, Axelrad said.
The arbitrator did not make a decision Wednesday.
Bosque, who was fired in October, is not collecting a salary. But each time he has faced trouble in the past, he has been reinstated with back pay after an arbitrator ruled in his favor. He has served under 15 different police chiefs in a department that has been plagued by scandal.
“I love being a policeman. I love looking in the mirror and the person I see,” he said in an interview with The Herald last year.
He likened the effort to have him fired to a “witch-hunt,” saying that any excessive force he’s used in the past was necessary for the safety of himself and others.
He is currently under criminal investigation, accused of battering a suspect involved in a domestic dispute.
“I don’t want bad cops out there either,’’ Axelrad said. “But if an officer hasn’t done anything wrong and is being railroaded he should have an opportunity to clear his name.’’