MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Miami’s police union president got his gun back Monday, but he lost an effort to get rid of a temporary restraining order against him.
FOP boss, Lt. Javier Ortiz, was in family court, along with Claudia Castillo who wants a judge to keep a stay away order against Ortiz in place.
It started in January, 2016. Claudia Castillo rolled her cell phone video on what she said was a speeding Miami-Dade cop. On the cell recording, Castillo can be heard saying the officer must have been going 100 miles per hour. When she caught up with him near an exit ramp, Castillo pulled the officer over, flashing her lights.
“It’s your speeding!” Castillo can be heard telling the officer. “Well, I apologize and I’ll be sure to slow down,” the officer responds.
The civilian-stops-cop video went viral. And Javier Ortiz went ballistic, launching an online attack on Castillo. It included a shot of her at the wheel of a boat holding a can of beer. He published her cell phone number. She says she got nasty calls at all hours. She didn’t file for a restraining order, though, until just last month, after she encountered Ortiz at a meeting of the Civilian Investigative Panel, a police oversight board, that found Ortiz guilty of breaking multiple department policies in this online treatment of Castillo. Castillo said a visibly angry Ortiz tried to follow her to the parking lot. She hasn’t discussed the incident on camera but told CBS4 News after she filed for the restraining order that she was afraid of Ortiz.
“I fear for my safety because I don’t have a gun or a badge,” she said.
Ortiz’ attorney says there was no encounter at the meeting.
“We will present evidence from police witnesses that he went into an office, and she was free to leave, and he didn’t follow her, and she even had a police officer escort to her car,” said Ortiz’ attorney, Rob Buschel.
Judge Deborah White-Labora refused to lift a temporary restraining order.
“The judge did the right thing by keeping the restraining order in place,” said Castillo’s attorney, Paul Petruzzi. “Lt. Ortiz has some serious issues.”
The judge did grant the cop one request: “I will remove the provision preventing firearms,” White-Labora ruled.
The decision allows Ortiz to carry his weapon at all times – not just when on duty.
Ortiz is a colorful, controversial figure with a history of speaking his mind:
– He waged cyber war on a Florida Highway Patrol trooper who pulled over a speeding Miami cop. The trooper said the Miami officer was doing “over 100 miles per hour.” Ortiz and many other officers were incensed that the trooper drew her gun on the Miami officer who was in a marked squad car.
– He made national news when he called for Miami Police to boycott a Beyoncé concert because of what he called her anti-cop beliefs.
– He slammed a Pinecrest police officer who he said refused to render aid to two, fatally injured victims at a car crash. The Pinecrest officer, first recommended for termination by the police chief, eventually was given a suspension without pay.
Ortiz has enjoyed the support of the rank and file in jousting with city hall and police department brass for better pay and benefits. The union recently won a state supreme court ruling that could see the city eventually have to reimburse millions of dollars in back pay that had been unilaterally cut from salaries during a declared “financial emergency.”
A man of many words, Ortiz had little to say following Monday’s hearing.
“I have full trust in the criminal justice system and having me vindicated,” Ortiz said as he brushed by reporters.
Judge White-Labora will hold a full blown hearing, a trial of sorts, next week on whether the temporary restraining order against the police union president should be made permanent. Ortiz, his alleged victim and others could testify.