Thursday, March 7, 2013

WHOOPS, wait a minute! Have we stumbled upon another scandal?

Yesterday we discovered that the City of South Miami and it's police chief individually had been sued by Florida Highway Patrol officer Donna Watts for abusing the state of Florida's D.A.V.I.D. system to gain access to her personal information.  According to what we've been able to dig up, the city and the chief settled the lawsuit for approximately $13,000.  That's all well and good until one of our readers left us this comment...
If South Miami settled, why isn't there a filed voluntary dismissal? Also, the City Commission would have to approve the payment of the settlement, since it's over $5,000.
I'm not sure why there hasn't been a dismissal filed yet, but I do know for certain that if the lawsuit was settled for any amount over $5,000 that the City Commission would have to approve the settlement.  Unfortunately though after a search of all the commission meeting agendas since the lawsuit was filed, I see no mention of this settlement going before the commission.  Now, I have to admit, I just scanned the commission agendas so I could have missed it, if anyone sees otherwise, let me know.  

Now consider for a moment if I am right, what if the lawsuit was settled without the approval of the commission?  How could such a thing have happened?  If indeed it was settled without the commissions approval, is it possible that the whole deal was handled in such a way as to not bring any attention to the lawsuit?  One thing we know for certain is that since the chief of police, Orlando Martinez de Castro, was named in the lawsuit individually, he had to have been served therefore he can't deny knowledge of the lawsuit.  With that said, is it even plausible for this lawsuit and it's alleged settlement not to have made any noise within the city?  Could this be another major cover up within the PD?  We'll dig a little deeper and see what comes up.

We had another interesting comment from yesterdays post as well regarding the officer that actually used his D.A.V.I.D. privileges to look up Trooper Watts' personal information...
Another fact: South Miami PD Officer Armando Perez resigned after he was charged with accessing the trooper's info in D.A.V.I.D. three times.
For our readers from the City of South Miami PD, can anyone confirm this?  If indeed Perez did resign after this lawsuit was filed, at the very least the timing of his resignation is suspect.  What's funny about this whole deal is that Officer Perez is no stranger to controversy  from the Miami Herald article back in November of last year...
Davidson-Schmich’s “nightmare” began on a sunny Thursday about 2 p.m. The German literature professor said he was riding his bicycle on his way home in a rush to watch a Euro Cup soccer game. He was riding westbound on Sunset Drive between the public library and City Hall, 6130 Sunset Dr., when he saw police officer Armando Perez make an illegal left turn.
But what Davidson-Schmich didn’t know was that the officer was responding to a 911 hang up call at Larkin Community Hospital, 7031 SW 62nd Ave., and was therefore allowed to make the left turn.
The father of two children said he wagged his index finger from left to right “to let the officer know that he should not do this.” But Perez said in his report Davidson-Schmich showed him the middle finger, followed him and then started “yelling profanities” as “a crowd of people started gathering and staring.” Davidson-Schmich said there was no such crowd. Police entered one witness statement into evidence.
Perez arrested Davidson-Schmich and took him to Miami-Dade County jail. Stoddard has photos that show bruises on Davidson-Schmich’s arm when he bonded out the next day.
But even if Davidson-Schmich did make a rude comment or gesture at a police officer, that’s not sufficient reason to make an arrest, said Baylor Johnson, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. Unless a gesture or speech is threatening, it is protected by the First Amendment, Johnson said.
About a week after the arrest, an officer found a witness, Michel Perez, a Larkin Community Hospital employee. He also corroborated much of the officer’s version, although some of the details were different. For example, the witness said the incident took place at 4:30 p.m., while, the police and Davidson-Schmich said it happened shortly before 2 p.m.
Davidson-Schmich was charged with disorderly conduct, a first degree misdemeanor. The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office later changed the charge to resisting an officer without violence, also a first degree misdemeanor.
Isn't it funny how things work over at the South Miami PD?  A guy gets arrested for allegedly giving a cop the finger?  And how convenient, a week after the arrest the cops find a witness that saw the whole thing go down?  Amazing how the South Miami PD has the resources to investigate this incident presumably for a full week before they found a witness who only partially corroborated Officer Perez's version of events.  Regardless, if indeed Officer Perez is gone, it seems like Mr. Schmich got the last laugh.

Read more here:


  1. Mike, Please say this is NOT SO!
    Not our chief being sued for abuse of accessing D.A.V.I.D, and our city tax dollars paying for this settlement, without the commission and public knowledge? Or at lest, SOME of the commission!
    Can you see why, the need for bariatric surgery?

  2. No even that Mike when i used to work in Airways Auto Tag Orlando Martinez De Castro, Orlando(El Baby) and Christopher Martinez they said they have a security company and when they need any information they will called to the Tag agency and asked us go thru FRVIS and give them the information, and not even that when (El Baby or Christopher like a women they wrote the Tag and ask us the info if the person. This is how dirty they are.Look what we have out of street.They are more dirty things that you don't know about this nasty family.......

  3. They should be taking out the Tag Agency and The Police Bag!!!! They dont deserve that.

  4. EXTRA, EXTRA! Arcchitect Board president and Planning Board member Hector Fernandez joins the Martinez de Castro, Newman,Mirabile, Padreda and Sharron McCain team and declares that he is running for Commissioner Walter aharris's commission seat. Funny that Fernandez is in denial about George W Bush being a drunk, but let Walter advocate medical marijuana and Fernandez calls him a pothead. I wish cancer on nobody, but you'll never know how you will cope with pain in the future. Will Fernandez repudiate the Kenny Harms smear campaign against the Mayor. a harbinger of his nastiness to come is the accusation of Harris being a pothead. So Valerie Newman is the only 60's anti war activist in Tampa that didn't turn on?

    1. Armando Perez was a member of the afternoon shift. One member spotted a mentally challenged teenager rolling a joint and gave chase, and four other officers gave chase and caught the teenager on the south side of Lee Park Co-op and slammed him on the ground and arrested him. Inside of the lee Park wall was resident Ricardo Jackson who lives next to Miller Publishing employee Bill Tompkins. The police spotted Ricardo Jackson filming the takedown with his cell phone. 5 of our finest including Armando Perez and our K9 officer then entered Lee Park, threw Ricardo Jackson on the ground, had the dog threatening to bite him, confiscated the cellphone and deleted the footage of the takedown of the mentally disturbed teenager. Mr Armando Perez could not give a rat's ass about Constitutionally Protected rights. After that the SMPD issued a directive to its officers not to remove cameras of citizens filming them, a day late and a dollar short.

    2. Ricardo Jackson needs to contact a civil rights attorney, the U. S. A. DOJ, or local
      Courts have long held that recordings made by private citizens of police conduct or other items of public interest are entitled to First Amendment protection. See, e.g., Glik, 655 F.3d at 84-85 (finding First Amendment right to record “clearly established”); Smith, 212 F.3d at 1333; Fordyce, 55 F.3d at 439; Blackston v. Alabama, 30 F.3d 117, 120-21 (11th Cir. 1994); Lambert v. Polk Cnty., 723 F. Supp.128, 133 (S.D. Iowa 1989).
      Similarly, the Supreme Court has established that journalists are not entitled to greater First Amendment protections than private individuals. See,e.g., Nixon v. Warner Comm., Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 608-09 (1978) (“The First Amendment generally grants the press no right to information about a trial superior to that of the general public.”); Branzburg, 408 U.S. at 684 (“It has generally been held that the First Amendment does not guarantee the press a constitutional right of special access to information not available to the public generally.”)

    3. the U.S. Department of Justice stepped in, issuing a 13-page statement of interest on behalf of Garcia and the Constitution making it clear where it stands on this issue:
      • First, the United States urges the Court to find that both the First and Fourth Amendments protect an individual who peacefully photographs police activity on a public street, if officers arrest the individual and seize the camera of that individual for that activity.
      • Second, the United States is concerned that discretionary charges, such as disorderly conduct, loitering, disturbing the peace, and resisting arrest, are all too easily used to curtail expressive conduct or retaliate against individuals for exercising their First Amendment rights. The United States believes that courts should view such charges skeptically to ensure that individuals’ First Amendment rights are protected. Core First Amendment conduct, such as recording a police officer performing duties on a public street, cannot be the sole basis for such charges.
      • Third, the First Amendment right to record police officers performing public duties extends to both the public and members of the media, and the Court should not make a distinction between the public’s and the media’s rights to record here. The derogation of these rights erodes public confidence in our police departments, decreases the accountability of our governmental officers, and conflicts with the liberties that the Constitution was designed to uphold.

    INTER-OFFICE MEMORANDUM The Honorable Mayor & Members of the City Commission Hector Mirabile, PhD, City Manager Carmen Baker CCO/Code Enforcement Director Maria E. Stout-Tate, Special Event Coordinator
    WHEREAS, South Miami Drug-Free Coalition is a non-profit organization that raises funds to provide awareness about illegal drugs; and,

    In Miami-Dade County, nearly 40% of high schoolers drink. Nearly 15% smoke marijuana regularly. In South Miami, a group of dedicated people is working to reduce those numbers. -South Miami Drug-Free Coalition
    IT IS OKAY TO DRINK ALCOHOL AT SPLITSVILLE AND DRIVE??? Especially with your children in the car?
    Is MADD involved with this annual event in south miami?

    WHEREAS, Larkin Community Hospital offered to sponsor certain City employees to participate in the King Pin Challenge IV and to reimburse the City for the application fees of those employees who participated in the bowling event; and,
    WHEREAS, the City intends to use the funds donated by Larkin Hospital to pay South Miami Drug-Free Coalition for the application fees of City employees who participated in this event.

    City of south miami police personnel, city staff as well as mangers and directors all receiving GIFTS from Larkin hospital and Free Drinks alcoholic and non from the owner of Splitsville at Sunset Place South Miami....
    why doesn't the city of south miami police department set up a DUI enforcement detail on the same night the south miami king pin challenge is taking place, with the city of south miami sponsored teams with city employees drinking and getting into their cars and driving afterward.....

  6. Someone needs to audit DFACT!!! A system used by SMPD to do backgrounds on suspects or subjects involved in crimes! See how many times SM1 has requested checks! Especially of people the have never been in South Miami!

  7. What is the use spending for 22 officers X 8 hours + explorers + logistics and our DUI checkpoint doesn't catch a single drunk driver? Then we try a "DUI saturation patrol with 11 officers and that comes up empty handed , also. Athe reason is so OMC can get a reputation as Chief of the DUI checkpoint capital of Miami-Dade. At taxpayers' expense!

  8. Florida Criminal Information Center
    Run FCIC??
    File Criminal Charges with FDLE?
    Terminate access to FCIC for the whole dept?


  9. There is a case going on in Orange County similar to this however it was one deputy who ran the lady's name more than 200 times. The full story isn't out yet but the basic that has been told I am curious as to why agencies tend to cover up such? This Deputy used DAVID, FCIC,NCIC, and TAR to run her husbands ex wife. Wouldn't you be concerned that her actions are obsessive? Why wasnt she given time off, EAP, or certification revoked for DAVID or LEO? I read the court documents filed in Federal Court March 2013. Our agency was made aware of it at a meeting last month on DAVID misuse.

      WATTS, CASE NO.: Plaintiff,
      24. Defendant CITY OF SOUTH MIAMI is a municipality of the State of Florida duly organized and existing under the laws of the State of Florida, which can be sued under Fla. Stat. § 768.28.

      48. Defendant ORLANDO MARTINEZ DE CASTRO, upon information and belief, was, at all times material herein, a citizen of the United States and a resident of the State of Florida, duly appointed and acting in his individual capacity as Chief of South Miami Police Department.
      97. Defendant ARMANDO PEREZ, upon information and belief, was, at all times material herein, a resident of the state of Florida and a citizen of the United States, duly appointed and acting in his individual capacity as an Officer of the South Miami Police Department.