Miami Beach Police Sgt. Mike Muley consumed at least six double vodka and cranberry juice cocktails, stumbled when trying to dance with a woman and briefly unholstered his weapon on the night that cost him his job and led to a change in the city’s overtime policy, an Internal Affairs investigation has found.
Muley, a 14-year Beach police veteran, was fired last week after an eight-month investigation of his alleged antics in the early hours of July 14 at Mango’s Tropical Cafe on South Beach.
“This officer terribly embarrassed the police department and all his peers, as well as the entire city of Miami Beach,” Police Chief Dan Oates said.
Oates released a lengthy video and more than 200 pages of a detailed and fairly exhaustive investigation of Muley that included printouts of drink orders from Mango’s that night and DNA tests taken from a water bottle at a hotel where the sergeant was sent to allegedly sleep off the alcohol. More than a dozen witnesses, including security personnel at Mango’s and a sidewalk flower vendor, were interviewed.
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One waiter at Mango’s, 900 Ocean Dr., gave a statement saying he took several double vodkas out to Muley in the alley on the north side of the cafe and next door to Fat Tuesday’s, and that he was “uncomfortable with this.” The surveillance video clearly shows Muley in uniform downing some type of drink, attempting to dance with a woman before stumbling, and at one point briefly removing his gun with his right hand from his holster, never lifting it above his waist, then returning it in place.
At one point the report says Muley claimed he was an alcoholic. Before he vomited by Mango’s entrance, the report says, “a woman climbed, open-legged onto the right side of your body. Both of you posed for a photo but not before you stumbled and almost fell down with the woman.”
On Thursday, Muley’s attorney Eugene Gibbons fired back, saying he was filing a grievance with the city, that he was confident an arbitrator would reinstate the decorated officer, and that it was illness in large part that led to Muley’s actions.
“He was going into septic shock,” Gibbons said of Muley, who was operated on the next day at Mount Sinai Medical Center, and spent the next five days in recovery. “I guess the chief wanted to flex his muscles. But this is going to backfire on them.”
Muley’s alleged misdeeds last summer came at a particularly tough time for a department that was immersed in several embarrassing episodes, one with a deadly result. Only a week earlier Police Officer Derick Kuilan was sentenced to 18 months in prison for drinking on duty and running over two beach-goers while riding an all-terrain vehicle.
The city also was still awaiting a state investigation of the 2011 Memorial Day shooting of Raymond Herisse, in which Miami Beach and Hialeah officers fired at him more than 100 times and struck and injured four innocent bystanders. That investigation wrapped up earlier this week and cleared the police of any wrongdoing.
Muley’s Mango’s incident also sparked a change in policy in Miami Beach. Oates immediately suspended all off-duty work for officers at city nightclubs. Two months later, a new policy was installed that allows cops to work off-duty details, but only after receiving proper training and rotating shifts every two or three hours. The new plan also prohibits police from entering a nightclub unless law enforcement action is necessary.
According to witness accounts and the Internal Affairs findings, Muley’s downfall began at 4:20 a.m. July 14, with an anonymous call to police saying an intoxicated officer was in front of the cafe. Muley had reported to work there that night an hour late, at 11 p.m. City records show he clocked in at 10 p.m.
Then, even before an officer found Muley walking along Ocean Drive, a Mango’s employee accompanied the sergeant to the nearby Waldorf Hotel, where he was supposed to sleep off the alcohol. But Muley left the hotel and sneaked out a back door soon after the man left, the report says.
A few minutes later, Muley’s commanding officer, Michael George, drove to the scene and found Muley walking in the 800 block of Ocean Drive, but not walking with a “normal stride.” George lowered a window and Muley leaned in, according to the report. Then George asked Muley whether everything was OK. Muley replied he was dealing with personal issues but admitted he had been drinking.
George then drove Muley back to the station, but before going inside Muley said he felt ill and paramedics were called. Later, Miami Beach Fire Rescue officers Jeremy Bloomfield, Joubert Dorieus and Alejandro Correa all gave statements saying they didn’t smell alcohol on Muley. He was taken to the hospital, where he spent the next five days.
The Internal Affairs report released this week said that Muley was let go for violating orders, for being intoxicated, for intentionally falsifying time records and for not keeping his weapon holstered properly.
“As an experienced law enforcement officer, you know, or you should know, you are responsible for keeping your firearm holstered at all times and not displaying it in public places, unless being used in the performance of your duties,” the Internal Affairs report concluded.
Muley is a decorated officer who twice received the department’s highest award, the Medal of Valor, for saving lives.
In 2002 as he heard a crash while walking his dog near his Davie home, he raced to a nearby canal, dove in and saved two women from drowning by dragging them to safety.
Three years later, he was involved in a much more high-profile case. This time, Muley was honored for subduing Barret Robbins, a 300-pound-plus offensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders. Robbins injured several police officers during an after-hours confrontation in a hallway near the Playwright Pub in Miami Beach. Despite being beaten by Robbins, Muley managed to shoot him. Robbins barely survived.
Yet the decorated officer also has been reprimanded a few times, once for being the sergeant in charge the night Officer Kuilan went on his joyride with a bride-to-be and badly injured two people on the beach with his ATV.
Gibbons, Muley’s attorney, vowed Thursday that his client wasn’t giving up his job without a fight.
“We’re upset that the city decided to make a decision charged out of emotion and political expediency,” he said. “Mike is dealing with serious medical and personal issues. He went to the hospital because of illness and he was hospitalized for five days and had emergency surgery to his abdomen. I’m confident when we get in front of an unbiased arbitrator Mike will be reinstated.”