After more than a year of paid suspension, until an investigation is conducted by an outside law enforcement agency, controversial Miami Police Department (MPD) Captain Javier Ortiz will return to duty this week.
New Times confirmed with Ortiz’s lawyer Robert Buschel that Ortiz will start working this week after spending 13 months on paid administrative leave. Buschel says Ortiz was “completely released” today and returned to work.
Achieved New Times via text message, Ortiz thanked his supporters.
“I want to thank God, my wonderful advisor at law firm Buschel & Gibbons, director Al Palacio and PBA president in South Florida Steadman Stahl for their unwavering support,” Ortiz said.
Ortiz was relieved of his duty to pay in January 2020 after a report that he, a white Hispanic, claimed at two promotional exams that he was black. Ortiz explained at the meeting of the city commission that he was “black or black” underthe one-drop rule, “a dated and racist principle that implies that anyone with even the slightest African descent should be considered a Negro. New Times reported in November that MPD never investigated Ortiz for these allegations and did not gain discipline.
MPD chief Jorge Colina, who plans to retire as soon as city leaders hire a new police chief, said Ortiz was suspended not because of comments about his race, but because he was being investigated by an outside law enforcement agency. It is still unclear why Ortiz was investigated or whether that investigation was brought to an end.
Colina did not answer several phone calls, voicemail and text message from New Times asking for comment.
New Times asked for more information from MPD about Ortiz’s return to work and the status of the external investigation.
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