Miami Police Chief: “Police Are Not Surveilling Mayor”
MIAMI (CBS4) — Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito denied allegations Friday afternoon that he was having Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado followed. A day earlier, Regalado told CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald that he believes officers were following him.
At a press conference Friday afternoon, Exposito dismissed Regalado’s allegations as “a general attack on the department.”
“Mayor Regalado needs to identify exactly what officers are surveilling him rather than launching a general attack on the department,” Exposito said at the news conference. “I will tell you that Miami police officers are not surveilling the Mayor or any other elected official in the city of Miami.”
Exposito went on to say that the person following him is a process server and said Regalado has been “avoiding legal service.”
Regalado has not responded yet to Exposito’s claim.
Exposito also defended the recent police-involved shootings saying that his department’s goal is to keep the streets safe.
“The police-involved shootings are under my watch. These cases along with police involved shooting are awaiting final disposition,” Exposito said.
Exposito added that last year 1,000 firearms were seized. He also said the number of police officers killed had increased over the previous year.
In addition, Exposito stood by his allegations that Regalado had interfered into the police department’s investigation into illegal gambling. Exposito said he had turned over his evidence to the FBI.
Before the press conference, Regalado expressed fear as the public dispute between himself and Exposito has become more heated.
“I just feel very threatened,” Regalado told the paper, and then claimed he had been warned by several police officers that he and Commissioner Richard P. Dunn II were being followed.
Regalado and Dunn have been critical of Exposito’s leadership and have called for his removal as chief of police following a spate of police-involved shootings and growing pressure from the public surrounding lack of disclosure about those cases. The most recent shooting was in Overtown on New Year’s Day.
Exposito wrote a letter to federal law enforcement accusing Regalado of interfering with police raids on illegal gambling after Regalado demanded police postpone the delays, an accusation the mayor denies.
Regalado said he has noticed several suspicious vehicles with heavily tinted windows shadowing him, twice in front of his home and over the holidays as he delivered turkeys around Miami.
A spokesman for Exposito denied Thursday that anyone was watching Regalado or any other elected official and Commissioner Francis Suarez told The Herald that he was not aware of Regalado’s accusations of being followed and that he himself did not believe he was being followed.
Exposito, 56, has been chief of police since November 2009, shortly following Regalado’s election.
(© MMX CBS Television Stations. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report)