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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A City of Miami police officer is on the wrong side of the law, facing a charge of cocaine possession.
Officer Adrian Santos is suspended with pay pending termination proceedings, according to Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes who spoke at an afternoon news conference regarding the arrest.
Investigators say Santos was charged for allegedly snorting cocaine at E11EVEN nightclub in Miami on November 18th and it was captured on club surveillance video.
“It appears [to show] him bringing something to his nose, and sniffing the cocaine,” Llanes said of the surveillance footage.
Santos was detained by club bouncers and turned over to Miami Police.
“A forensic analysis positively indicated the white powdery substance as cocaine,” Llanes added.
A two and a half-year veteran, Santos was off-duty and out of uniform at the time.
Santos surrendered to authorities on January 8th and has since been released.
Llanes told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “Officer Santos’s actions in no way reflect the Miami Police Department. We hold our officers to a higher standard. We want to make it clear to the public that his behavior is not acceptable at any level. We hold our officers to a higher standard and this cannot be allowed to occur.”
Llanes hopes the arrest will send a message.
“We do have random drug testing of our officers,” he said.
There were strong words from Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.
“Every police officer takes an oath to enforce the law which means they have an inherent duty to respect the law and, unfortunately, Mr. Santos did not. I am very pleased with the way all the officers acted including those in Internal Affairs and the officers working off-duty did a great job not to turn a blind eye. It’s very sad when you see someone in law enforcement breaking the law but we hold them to a higher standard.”
“Nobody is above the law,” she said. “Mr. Santos disgraced his colleagues and himself and this community.”
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said, “Unfortunately, incidents like this tarnish officers but I am very pleased that our officers in conjunction with the security staff at the club helped uncover this and arrest the officer in question.”
The police chief said no other officers were involved in any wrongdoing. He also praised the security crew working at the nightclub.
“I think it is a positive statement that they saw somebody inside using drugs openly and they brought it out to our attention,” Llanes said.
In a tweet posted a day after Santos surrendered, Chief Llanes wrote, “It’s an unfortunate situation when one of our officers betrays the oath they took.”
The State Attorney also wrote in a statement,
“Every police officer who has taken an oath to enforce the law, also has a duty to respect and follow the law. There are no exceptions,” said Rundle.
Today’s charges come after a vigorous criminal investigation undertaken by the Miami Police Department and the State Attorney’s Office aimed at ensuring the integrity of our law enforcement community.”
For now, the surveillance tape is not being released.
Llanes said the officer remains suspended with pay pending the termination process. He said the officer is appealing the move to fire him.
The President of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police said the police union would have no comment about this case at the momen.