Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Carmel on the Case: Police Investigation
7 News has learned the Opa Locka Police Department is being investigated by the state among the allegations officers trading sex to set suspected criminals free. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero has the story.
WSVN -- The Opa Locka Police Department has about 50 officers protecting 15,000 residents in a four and a half square mile area, despite the small size, the department has big problems.
7 News has obtained this city report which reveals shocking claims from officers. According to the report, officers have had unscrupulous relationships with convicted felons in the city. Some of the officers in the report also raise concerns about the perception of racial profiling. City manager Clarance Patterson ordered the investigation.
Clarance Patterson, Opa Locka City Manager: "Well, I don't think anything came back in the report that was any more disturbing than some of the thing's I'd already heard."
Things like this entry in the report: "officers having sex with arrested offenders in lieu of moving forward to prosecution, eventually un-arresting the individuals and discarding the police report."
Clarance Patterson: "Yes, I'd heard that before and those are serious allegations."
Opa Locka's mayor and commission had also heard the rumors and that's why Patterson was told to investigate.
Officers spoke to investigators after being promised their identities would not be revealed the findings have now been turned over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which is investigating. Patterson says he hopes the allegations are not true, but if they are action will be taken.
Clarance Patterson: "And that's serious business and you take a sworn oath to uphold the law and nobody is above the law."
Carmel Cafiero: "And as if that wasn't bad enough, there is also a federal lawsuit pending filed by two former police officers that allege discrimination. Among other things, the lawsuit claims Opa Locka police officers were sent out on fishing expeditions to pull over black motorists in order to make arrest quotas."