CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – A high ranking police major on the Coral Gables police force has been suspended from duty in the wake of an incident at a city commission meeting.
A statement from the Coral Gables Police Department reads:
“On Wednesday, September 28, 2016, an internal affairs investigation was initiated by the Chief of Police during the City of Coral Gables Commission meeting. During the course of the investigation, Major Theresa Molina has been relieved of her command and duties with pay. As is our policy, we will not make any further statements about this investigation until it is concluded.”
So what happened?
Coral Gables activist and resident Maria Cruz was texting Commissioner Vince Lugo during the meeting when she claimed someone was spying on her.
She told commissioners, “This morning, I felt like I was back in Cuba. I have never been so insulted. Let me tell you what happened and this has nothing to do with what I was going to say. When I was standing there, I was texting someone, actually I texted a few people and I got a text from someone that said, ‘Stop texting, eyes.'”
Cruz, emotional about the incident, went on, “So I looked around and I found a police major was keeping track of what I was texting. Do I need to get a security company to protect me? This is sad when we have a police officer surveying someone who is a resident in a free country. This is not Cuba. This should not be allowed.”
After a quick break, Commissioner Lago responded about the incident and agreed with Cruz because anyone is allowed to text commissioners.
“This is a problem,” Lago said. “I have a concern when a resident comes up to me during an intermission and they tell me that while they were texting me that they were being watched by a police officer. When a resident tells me that they are being surveyed, reviewed, stared on while texting me, any resident can have a conversation with me at any time. This was inappropriate.”
For the record, Commissioner Lago did read what Maria Cruz texted him.
The comments were, “Please recognize me to speak before the commission. They won’t allow me to speak.”
Lago texted back, “I will do my best.”
CBS4’s Hank Tester spoke with Cruz, who was still shaken up.
“If a high ranking officer is willing to do this openly in front of everybody, in the middle of the city commission, what would they be willing to do in the dark when I am going in and out of my house?”
It’s not known why Molina, the major of the Criminal Investigation Division, was watching Cruz during her texting conversation.
Cruz said she is upset because the city is proposing putting security guards in golf carts to patrol the North Gables.