MIAMI (CBS4) – A Miami commissioner is demanding a public apology from a police union leader who defends a controversial email.
Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Javier Ortiz admits to sending an altered mug shot to his colleagues. Now he’s also getting criticized for it by the leader of another police union.
In mid-April, Durrall Miller, 24, was accused of firing shots at two Miami-Dade police officers in Southwest Miami-Dade, hitting one in the foot.
Police found him on April 19th and shot him dead in Miami Gardens because, they say, Miller threatened to shoot police.
The very next day, Ortiz sent out an email with an altered photo of suspect Durrall Miller.
“With some red devil eyes and demon sharp teeth,” said Miami Commissioner Richard Dunn, who is outraged over the photo.
Commissioner Dunn says the shooting appears to have been justified, but calls the e-mail racist.
“That is what we do not need in the City of Miami,” said Dunn.
“That is something that I did send,” said Ortiz.
CBS4 News caught up with Ortiz on Friday. He’s also a City of Miami police officer.
“I stand by what I did,” he responded when CBS4′s Gio Benitez asked if he felt it was professional to send that out.
“That email was sent to our membership. That was not to be leaked out to the public,” said Ortiz.
“Mr. Ortiz, that is the most racist thing I’ve seen in my life. If you sent that out, shame on you,” said Commissioner Dunn.
“Absolutely no regret. This has nothing to do with race. This has to do with the fact that this is somebody that shot at two Miami-Dade police officers. This has nothing to do with race,” said Ortiz.
“We’re professionals. We should be above the fray,” said City of Miami police officer Stanley Jean Poix, who is also the president of another police union, The Miami Community PBA.
He also received the Ortiz email. Shortly after it was sent, he says, his members had a private meeting with Ortiz, where Jean Poix says, Ortiz was apologetic.
“And after that, we saw his interview on CBS4, and it seemed like he wasn’t apologetic anymore,” said Jean Poix.
The Miami Police Department says Ortiz sent the email as a member of the union, not as a sergeant. A Miami PD spokesperson says it’s a union issue. The Department does not plan on getting involved and Chief Miguel Exposito won’t comment.
As of Tuesday night, the President of the Miami Police Union had not returned CBS4’s calls.
The city manager told our news partners at The Miami Herald that he finds the incident, “disturbing” and will look into it.