City Manager Suspends Miami's Police Chief, Appoints Interim

Miami's top cop has been suspended from his position.

At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito met with City Manager Johnny Martinez. Ten minutes later Exposito walked out of City Hall with a letter in hand.

His attorney made a statement on his behalf. "As expected the chief was served with notice today pursuant to the City Charter," said Exposito's attorney. "The Charter provides for a process and we intend to avail ourselves of that process through its natural conclusion."

Exposito has been suspended for insubordination, which stems from a dispute over the demotion of three police officers.

He could not comment to the press due to a gag order placed by the city manager. "Folks, I'd love to talk to you," said Exposito. "As you know I cannot make any comments to the media, without written permission from the city manager and I would ask that you respect that."

Exposito has five days to have a hearing before the city commission. The emergency hearing is scheduled for Thursday. During the hearing, Martinez will state his case as to why he suspended Exposito and essentially the city commission will have to decide whether to fire Exposito.

In the meantime, the city manager has appointed Miami Police Major Manuel Orosa as Interim Miami Police Chief.

Meanwhile, Exposito and the mayor have been at odds for months. According to sources, the police chief filed for whistleblower protection after he sent information about City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado to law enforcement authorities.

On Friday, however, Regalado said he had no knowledge of Exposito's meeting with Martinez. "I don't know anything or have information about anything coming up," said Regalado.

Tuesday morning Commissioner Marc Sarnoff said both Exposito and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado need to "step down from the cliff."

Three votes are needed from the commission in order to reverse the city manager's decision to suspend Exposito. The mayor's allies are commissioners Willie Gort and Francis Suarez, while commissioners Sarnoff and Frank Carollo are expected to support the chief of police.

The wild card is Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, who recently returned to her position after she was cleared of grand theft charges. Last week, Spence-Jones spoke about the possible suspension. "What I'm doing now is hearing both sides of the story. I think it's extremely important to not rush to judgment," she said.

Read more at WSVN-TV.

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