Miami Beach Officer Fighting Allegations Of Drinking On Duty
South Florida Crime
MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) -The Miami Beach Police sergeant who is under investigation for drinking beer in his cop car is expected to fight the latest allegations against him.
CBS4’s Peter D’Oench caught up with Sergeant Michael Veski at his apartment and while he was off duty. He is taking some compensatory time off while his department’s Internal Affairs unit investigates the latest allegations involving yet another officer in this city who was reportedly drinking while on duty.
“I can’t say anything about this case,” Veski told D’Oench. “It’s an open case. I can’t sir. I really can’t.”
D’Oench asked Veski if he thought the claims were being overstated by his accuser.
“I can’t talk about it sir,” he said, as he stood in his doorway.
His department has ordered him not to speak about this case.
But D’Oench reported that Veski takes issue with what was published Tuesday on a blog, implying he’ll fight the allegations.
The latest scandal hitting the island’s police department surfaced late Tuesday afternoon.
The author of Random Pixels published a tip about a veteran officer involved in an altercation with a postal inspector last week. The story stated that the cop’s cruiser was being driven by a friend when it nearly hit the inspector. The officer allegedly got out of the passenger side of the car with a beer in hand. The officer and the inspector exchanged words and then the postal inspector left.
Miami Beach’s Police Chief Ray Martinez, on the job officially now less than a week, came out quickly to address the allegations.
“I take all allegations of officer misconduct seriously and will ensure that a full and thorough review of the incident is question is conducted,” said Chief Martinez.
Miami Beach residents told D’Oench that they are alarmed.
They remember how two officers were fired and one was arrested after drinking and driving his ATV with a bachelorette on board—a joyride that ended last July when two tourists were struck and seriously injured.
“It sounds horrible, bad,” said Steve Weaver of Miami Beach. “They shouldn’t be drinking. You can’t have an open container anyway. That’s a police officer. Police have to uphold the law.”
“It’s something to be concerned about,” said Beach resident David Alvarez. “The police are supposed to look out for the safety of the public.”
“I don’t want any part of this,” said Pat Kelly of Miami Beach. “I want police to be policemen. We all have 8 hour jobs to do. You should do your job. And if you want to play after that, you can play.”
Veski is taking some compensatory time off but he remains on the streets because at this point there is not enough evidence to support the allegations.
It’s not known how long the internal affairs investigation will take.
Investigators are now looking at a number of items including surveillance video to verify the story.
Martinez released this statement to CBS4 News Tuesday night.
The Miami Beach Police Department Internal Affairs Unit is actively investigating an allegation regarding one of our officers.
At this point, we have been unable to confirm any of the details of the initial allegation. We are vigorously pursuing information as it relates to this matter.
I take all allegations of officer misconduct seriously and will ensure that a full and thorough review of the incident in question is conducted.
Late Wednesday afternoon, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service told D’Oench that he could not confirm that a postal inspector was involved in the incident.
Postal Service spokesman Blad Rojo said, “As far as I know, we can’t prove that a postal inspector was involved.”
Miami Beach Police spokeswoman Vivian Hernandez told D’Oench, “We are investigating what is in the blog. That’s all we can say at this point.”