MIAMI (CBS4) – Former Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito walked confidently into the courtroom Thursday finally getting his day in court to appeal his firing.
“They’ll make the right decision and that decision in my estimation is that there is no justification for my termination,” he said just before going in.
Exposito was frank with his argument proclaiming his firing was strictly political.
“I’ve seen other chiefs, good chiefs go down because of the political machine. And this is no different. It’s not shocking to me and it shouldn’t be shocking to any of us,” he said.
Back in 2009, when Exposito was selected to be a chief he was tasked with bringing up morale in the department. The 35 year veteran’s high hopes faded with several police involved shootings and failed corruption investigations. He soon was at odds with the mayor, once a close ally. Investigations into the chief’s actions began and within months they had the dirt they needed.
Miami’s new manager Johnny Martinez asked the chief to hold off on demotions of three senior staff members. Exposito went ahead and changed their responsibilities.
A month later he was fired for not following orders.
In an hour long appeal Exposito’s attorney pleaded his case that he did not demote. He just changed their duties. The three staff members’ salaries and ranks were unchanged. The city fired back citing demotion means a lot of things.
“Demotion isn’t just limited to a reduction in your salary. Or a reduction your job title. The courts recognize that a demotion can be a reduction in responsibilities. A reduction in prestige.” City attorney John Greco told the panel of three judges.
The panel took the arguments under advisement and then adjourned. They will release a written decision in the coming days.
After the hearing Exposito admitted part of this is about vindication, but he truly does want his job back.
“The job wasn’t finished. And I want finish that job. Once the job is finished I will pass the baton to then next person. I don’t want to be chief for life. That’s not what this is about.” Exposito said.