Miami-Dade County

Miami police should let others probe missing guns, union chief says

City of Miami Police Chief Rudy Llanes is flanked by State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle during a news conference last year.
City of Miami Police Chief Rudy Llanes is flanked by State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle during a news conference last year. EL Nuevo Herald

The president of Miami’s police union wrote to Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle on Friday and asked her to force the city’s police department to relinquish its role in an investigation into the disappearance of handguns that went missing from a police department property room.

The internal affairs probe, Javier Ortiz said, involves Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes. Ortiz also said an officer and “witness” to the disappearance of the 11 guns who is stationed in the property room, Sgt. Alvin Forbes, was transferred “for no apparent reason.”

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“I have been advised of how the investigation is being handled and we are not in agreement with it,” Ortiz wrote Friday. “I am not in any way inferring that the missing firearms were taken by the Chief of Police. However, he is involved in the case as well as a member of his executive staff and it’s in the best interest of the Miami Police Department to have an outside agency investigate this case properly.”

Ortiz asked Fernández Rundle to have the Miami-Dade Public Corruption Unit order that Miami police hand over its investigation. He wrote that he will “get into specifics when you assign this case to an investigator.”

Fernández Rundle was traveling home from Texas on Friday evening and was unavailable for comment. Spokeswoman Terry Gonzalez-Chavez said the state attorney had not seen the letter, but Ortiz said in a text message that her office has reached out to him.

Llanes declined to comment.

According to a source with knowledge of the investigation, the guns in question were used decades ago to train cadets under Llanes’ watch. The issue is also the subject of a Civilian Investigative Panel probe.

Ortiz’s letter comes one day after Miami Commissioner Frank Carollo brought up the missing guns during a City Commission meeting, along with a controversy involving an outdoor homicide evidence locker. The locker stored material relating to hundreds of cases. Some of that material was damaged by the elements. Carollo backed off his intention to talk about the issues in detail, saying he’d been advised by the city attorney of potential legal consequences.

“I just can’t fathom how in a major city like the city of Miami this could actually happen,” Carollo said.

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