I think this is everyone's worst nightmare
This letter is heartbreaking. It so much reminds me of the Sandra Bland incident. I know the officer he speaks of here and after doing this for much of his career in Coconut Grove, he is finally being taken from the district on July 30 and being moved to some unlucky neighborhood. I have had run-ins with this same cop, and just yesterday, a friend told me how he almost man handled her because of the same three parking spaces in front of The Bookstore. And she was legitimately using it for loading and unloading for a business. This was at the same time as the car on Virginia Street was almost car jacked.
One day I was walking by and he was talking to a friend, while doing his favorite thing, ticketing a car. I made a remark, just to make small talk, the officer didn't like it and I feared that something would happen and if my friend wasn't present and a community leader in Miami, I may have ended up in jail. The look he gave me made a chill run up my spine.
I know most of the local police, they are all the complete opposite of this guy. They are part of the community, friendly, helpful and honest people. I always stop and talk with them when I see them in the village. I'm not sure how this one cop got mixed in with our NRO's and others in the Grove, but it is good to hear that he will be gone soon.
The letter is anonymous because the writer is afraid it may hurt his court case if he signs it. But he did give me permission to add his name if I felt it was needed. I don't think it is.
How would you feel, if you were a resident of Coconut Grove, or any other city, village or state, handicapped, senior citizen, not having any traffic violation for the last five to ten years, and never been arrested in your life?
Unfortunately it happened to me, this July, at 9:50 am. I drove to the Bookstore, on Florida Avenue, a policemen was there and I tried to call his attention since I wanted to asked him to please allow me to park in one of the three parking spots available for loading, I just wanted to buy the newspaper and was going to quickly leave. I had asked to park there because, I just had a hip replacement (three weeks prior to the arrest) and it was very difficult for me to walk, and the nearest available parking to the Bookstore was these three parking for loading.
The sequence of the events go like this, I called the police to ask for permission to park there, he did not hear or did not want to hear what I had to say, and he said I must move, I tried to talk to him, and he said he will write me a ticket and I left. Since he was writing the ticket I went around the block and returned knowing I should probably go back, I did not want to be accused of abandoning the scene, and I asked the officer, did you write me a ticket? He said yes, and so asked for my copy, and I said to him, “Well if you gave me the ticket I should be able to park for a minute or two, since it is very difficult for me to walk, because I just had an operation," so for trying a second time, I was arrested for not obeying a police order.
In a matter of a seconds, I lost all my rights, the officer handcuffed me, took all my belongings, wallet, cash, phone and keys and he put me in the back of his car, a sergeant arrived minutes later and I spoke to him, I indicated that in my wallet was a card that proved I had a hip replacement done on June 15, 2015, and that I am handicapped but he refuse to look at it, I asked him if he could ask someone at the Bookstore to move the car and the answer was no. They toweded the car which cost me an additional $187.00.
The way to jail was a bumpy ride, it took several hours, first they took me to the Miami Police Department to do the paper work, I was then taken to a Police Center where there were six other people arrested, throughout this entire time I was handcuffed, and around 4 pm they took me to jail, where I was processed again, they took my blood pressure, a picture, finger print, and I was interviewed, I think by a paramedic. He asked me at the end what had happened, and his comment was “Bad luck, you got a 'bad officer.' "
There perhaps were 100 people arrested for all type of felonies, at that time, I was able to call my wife around 5 pm, and let her know where I had been the whole day, I asked her to come to prison with $500 for a bond. I was released a little after 2 am. As a result I was arrested and in prison for approximately 16 hours for not obeying a police that never wanted to understand I was simply asking for a favor, since I am a handicapped.
The Miami Police Department core values are:
1. - Integrity and ethical behavior at all times.
2. - Respect for the rules of law and the dignity of all human beings
3. - Acceptance of full responsibility and accountability for our actions.
4. - Empathy and compassion for others.
5. - Direct communication that permits and encourage healthy disagreement.
I question myself how many of these Core Values were violated?
Based on the Miami Police Department Core Values, I believe this is an abuse of authority, I never should have been arrested, but the officer refused to believe what I was telling him, and he refused to see the card I had in my wallet that proved I had a complete hip replacement recently. From one minute to the next, I was a prisoner, because this officer was not willing to help, or did not have the capacity to discern that I was not disobeying, but asking for help. One of the Core Values of the Miami Police is to have compassion.
I believe the majority of the police force is professional, and able, and willing to understand and work with the community, as well as understand and work within The Miami Police Department Core Values. Their motto to Serve and Protect and the fact that they respond to people in distress via 911 always provided me the comfort that my family was safe even when I was half way around the world, but perhaps there are some officers that are not professional with whom have a tremendous amount of power, and who can affect your life significantly.
We need a professional police force; I would like to see that officer like the one I had to deal with, be dismissed or retrained, because I think he is not able to understand, or not willing to work within the framework of the Police Department Core Values.
I called my three children and I told them about my experience. I advised them, if a police officer stops you, don't take a chance, regardless if you are right, just say, yes officer, wait for whatever he has to do, and say, thank you, and go!
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