December 15, 2019
Miami’s black police union calls for chief’s ouster amid racism concerns
 
 
 

Officers with the Miami Community Police Benevolent Association are calling for the ouster of Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina over what they described as an inability to stop a hostile work environment for black officers.

MCPBA Vice President Ramon Carr said the complaints against Colina are coming from some inside the department.

“The story is racism,” said Carr during a news conference held Friday.

At the news conference, MCPBA members announced a no confidence vote.

The MCPBA, which, according to its website, is the nation’s second oldest black police officers organization, has about 300 members and represents about 60 sworn officers.

Carr said Colina has got to go.

“Our story is about his leadership, and it’s all facets of his leadership,” he said.

MCPBA representatives said Colina has dropped the ball over the past two years. They alleged instances of racist harassment of black officers, unfair discipline and promotion practices and lack of representation of black men in command roles.

“What happens inside affects outside,” said Carr, “so if I don’t have competent leadership, I don’t have competent investigators, I don’t have a competent process to complain. How does that affect the community?”

But Miami Police Deputy Chief Ronald Papier said Colina is aware of the concerns and is taking steps to address them.

“The chief, of course, is very concerned about this. Nobody likes to hear that,” he said.

Colina was out of town for certification on Friday, but Papier and Miami Police Assistant Chief Cherise Gause said more than a fourth of the department’s staff is black, which reflects the agency as a whole.

As for claims that Colina has turned a blind eye to racism in the department, Papier said that is simply not the case.

“That is absolutely false. The chief has been very clear and very transparent,” he said. “Allegations of discrimination, they’re always investigated. Some officers have actually been terminated.”

Meanwhile, members of the MCPBA said there are also major problems with internal affairs and officers in key leadership roles, but the change has to come from the top.

“The problem that you form inside is what’s going to go outside to the community,” said MCPBA President Stanley Jean-Poix.

However, some say this is just police politics playing out in public.

“You do have a small set of individuals that have a personal agenda,” said Gause.

MCPBA said they would like city commissioners to take a vote of no confidence and then do a national search for a new chief.

As of 6:30 p.m. on Friday, city leaders have not responded to 7News’ calls for comment.