MIAMI (CBS4) – Police Lt. Alexander Hernandez pulled back the chambering lever on the AR-15 assault weapon and it slapped forward with a loud clack, reverberating around the conference room. The menacing-looking weapon was exhibit A at a hearing Wednesday as the Opa-Locka Police Department argued Sgt. German Bosque should be fired for leaving the rifle with his girlfriend’s father while out on leave last year.
It’s not every day a rapid-fire assault weapon is put on loud display in a city hall conference room, but Bosque is not your everyday cop. He’s the most disciplined, fined, fired, arrested police officer in the state. He has been fired eight times by three departments. Opa-locka is now trying to fire him – for the sixth time – with none of its previous efforts succeeding.
Wednesday’s hearing was before arbitrator Jeanne Wood who will determine if Bosque’s alleged carelessness with his rifle warrants dismissal.
Out for eight days last spring on sick leave, Bosque left the rifle in the custody of the father of his then girlfriend and now fiancé.
The city’s attorney, Joe Geller, argued that Bosque violated the police department’s policy that officers keep their weapons safely secured at all times.
“We’re here on a very simple matter,” Geller told CBS4’s Gary Nelson. “It’s going to be up to the arbitrator. We think what the officer did was wrong.”
CBS4’s news partner The Miami Herald reports Bosque has successfully beaten back allegations over the years including:
– Having busted the skull of a handcuffed suspect.
– Beating Juveniles
– Having dope and booze in his squad car
– Ripping off suspects
– Falsifying reports
– Participating in an unauthorized chase where four people were killed
– And calling in sick…from Cancun.
“It’s allegations. Allegations are not convictions,” said Bosque’s union-provided attorney, Andrew Axelrad. “We have a system in place and that system is a fair system.”
The system has given Bosque more chances than nine cats have lives. Like many law enforcement officers, he enjoys civil service and union protections.
“I love serving the community. I love what I do for a living and I’m very proud,” Bosque said Wednesday.
After his last call to the carpet, Bosque signed a deal with the city agreeing that one more strike would be his last. Leaving his 30-shot assault rifle in the custody of his girlfriend’s father qualifies as a strike, the city argues.
Bosque’s attorney countered that the weapon was safe with the man Bosque calls “Daddy,” and who is a licensed security guard. Axelrad said there was no evidence the weapon was ever removed from the trunk of the car where the AR-15 was locked for safe-keeping.
“Anyone can legally purchase this weapon,” Axelrad said.
“Not just anyone can purchase one from the Opa-locka police department,” retorted Geller.
The city said the gun should have been secured in Bosque’s home or at the police station while he was away on leave. Also left with the girlfriend’s father was the officer’s bullet proof police vest with insignia.
The arbitrator, Wood, said she would issue a decision in approximately 60 to 90 days.
The arbitration could be rendered moot, even before a decision is issued.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which licenses cops, may have had enough. FDLE staff will recommend at an expected de-certification hearing in coming months that Bosque’s license be yanked.
The last straw with FDLE investigators apparently centers around Bosque allegedly running criminal checks on people while off duty. Bosque’s attorney claims the investigators have misread Bosque’s work schedule in comparing it with the dates he was conducting the background