Officers Disciplined After Miami Beach Police Probe
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MIAMI BEACH – An internal affairs probe of the Miami Beach Police force launched after one of their officers crashed his ATV into two people on the beach reportedly found a number of problems including a breakdown in command and gross negligence by some officers over the July 4th holiday weekend.
According to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald, several supervisors, police commanders and officers falsified information about where they were over the holiday weekend. According to the report, those involved also not only arrived late, left early and lied about where they were, they also reportedly altered time records to get paid for hours they didn’t work.
City Manager Jorge Gonzalez told the paper on Tuesday that three supervisors were served disciplinary notices and two other officers already have been disciplined. Two officers have been fired.
Gonzalez says new rules will bring more accountability to the police department.
According to Derick Kuilan’s arrest warrant and police documents, he and Officer Rolando Gutierrez were on duty the morning of July 3 when they entered the bar and dance-floor area of the Clevelander Hotel around 5 a.m. and met four women in the midst of a bachelorette party.
The women said the two officers began dancing with them and then Kuilan invited bachelorette Adalee Martin on an ATV ride and sped down the beach with his lights off and Martin clinging to his waist. They turned back north and then crashed into Luis Almonte and Kitzie Nicanor near Fourth Street.
Gutierrez was terminated after the incident.
Kuilan, who was also fired from the department, is fighting two felony counts of reckless driving with serious bodily injury and two counts of DUI with serious bodily injury.
In grievance filed with the city, Kuilan and his attorney claim that investigators wrongly took his blood after the crash.
Prosecutors said the blood test, taken more than five hours after the pre-dawn crash, showed Kuilan’s blood-alcohol levels were above the legal limit. Police Chief Carlos Noriega told CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald during a recent interview that his department took steps to ensure that Kuilan’s blood test was drawn legally, including contacting the state attorney’s office, before taking a sample. He said those efforts are what led to the five-hour delay.
But Kuilan and his defense attorney, Evan Hoffman, are challenging the test.
If convicted, Kuilan faces up to 20 years in prison.
(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.)