German Bosque, an Opa-locka police sergeant who’s been arrested and cleared three times, managed to hold onto his job each of the six times he’s been fired and who hasn’t received a paycheck in five years, returned to work last week after an arbitrator ruled in his favor.
Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association attorney Andrew Axelrad, who represented Bosque in arbitration, said Bosque deserved reinstatement after being cleared in 2017 of the most recent charges, which were first filed in 2013..
“He’s going to continue to serve the city,” said Axelrad. “It’s not that he’s a bad guy. It’s that he keeps getting fired.”
The brief, one-paragraph decision from special magistrate Robert Hoffman, said Bosque could once again begin patrolling Opa-locka’s streets on Oct. 2, pending a medical exam and proof of certification from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Bosque hasn’t received a paycheck from financially struggling Opa-locka since he was arrested in June 2013 on charges of misdemeanor battery, tampering with evidence and false imprisonment after he allegedly handcuffed and cursed at a youth counselor who walked into the police station to file a complaint against the sergeant.
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He was acquitted of the battery charge by a jury and convicted of the tampering charge. A judge tossed the false imprisonment count. Bosque appealed the tampering conviction and was cleared of any wrongdoing in May 2017 after the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office agreed to drop the case. The decision was made when a missing radio dispatch surfaced that undercut the state’s theory that Bosque was trying to stop the man from filing the complaint against him.
Still to be determined: How much back pay the sergeant should receive. Hoffman is expected to rule on that in the next few weeks.
Opa-locka Police Chief James Dobson said he didn’t want to discuss his plans for the sergeant until he sees the final back-pay order from Hoffman.
“I want to see the ruling from the arbitrator. We should have something in a week or two,” said Dobson.
Bosque’s return adds another body to a struggling department that is underpaid and understaffed. One of the lowest paid staffs in the state, Opa-locka officers recently had to take up residence on the third floor of City Hall because the roof at police headquarters leaked and mold was growing. Some officers complaining of low pay and old equipment have jumped ship or are looking for new work, and the department has suffered deep cuts the past few years as a state oversight board has tried to balance the city’s books.
Still, the controversial cop’s lengthy record and internal affairs file has earned him unflattering headlines from publications across the state. Most famously, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune wrote an exposé in 2011 that outlined his 18 years in law enforcement to that point as looking more like “a rap sheet than a resumé.”
The Herald-Tribune found that of Bosque’s 40 internal affairs complaints, 16 of them were for battery or excessive force. He’s been arrested three times. Once, before he was a cop. Another time in Broward County and a third time in 2013 for his alleged actions against the youth counselor. He was acquitted or the cases were dropped all three times.
The Herald-Tribune found Bosque was accused of stealing a car, boarding an airplane with a loaded gun and driving with a suspended license. In each instance, he was cleared of any wrongdoing.
His lengthy file also includes allegations that he beat up youths, hid drugs in his patrol car and called in sick to take a vacation to Mexico.
Bosque has complained in the past that he gets a bad rap because “the media wants to get rid of me.” He’s managed to retain his job the six times he’s been fired thanks to the powerful police union and bungled internal affairs investigations.
The attorneys who have represented him say he’s just misunderstood and focused on keeping the community safe.
“He’s really a nice guy. He’s an aggressive police officer. The media has given him an unfair reputation,” said attorney David Molansky, who last year successfully had the witness tampering charge dropped against Bosque. “Sergeant Bosque did nothing wrong and didn’t deserve to be fired.”