Internal Affairs report released in spell plot
NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- City officials are now providing details as to why two North Miami Beach city employees tried to cast a spell on a city manager.
According to a North Miami Beach Police Department internal affairs report, in late August, North Miami Beach police officer Elizabeth Torres and Police Chief Larry Gomer's secretary Yvonne Rodriguez plotted together to put a hex on City Manager Lyndon Bonner.
The report, which was released on Wednesday, said that the pair approached a maintenance worker at North Miami Beach City Hall and asked the worker if she had access to Bonner's office at night. Then, the duo allegedly asked the maintenance worker if she could spread bird seed around Bonner's office.
The bird seed would make the city manager want to leave the city, the report said.
In Torres' response in the IA report, she said, "I want to clarify that it's nothing malicious and nothing intended to hurt that person. Just, just it can be viewed as either a superstitious practice or a religious practice in the Santeria religion ... This is something I was raised with as a child, all these superstitions and this quasi-religion."
However, Michelle Maldonado, a professor of Religious Studies at the University of Miami, said, "In Santeria, you can't just spread bird seed and make the supernatural do what you want it to do."
According to police, Torres and Rodriguez never executed the plan because the maintenance worker did not spread the bird seed in the city manager's office.
At the time of the plan, the City of North Miami Beach was going through a rough time because of budget cuts and possible officer layoffs.
Even though the plan was not executed, both Torres and Rodriguez were terminated.
Torres told her superiors in a later interview that the alleged plot was only a joke. The internal affairs report read, "Torres was forthright in her statement. She thought it was harmless and was sorry the matter found its way to the city manager's attention."
Torres has the right to appeal her termination.
The city manager declined to comment on the matter.
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