The Miami-Dade Police Department fired a sergeant and two officers in the Kendall District after an Internal Affairs investigation revealed them to be regularly lying about their activities on the job. When they should have been responding to emergency calls, police video obtained by NBC 6 shows them shopping, visiting family and romantic partners, even relaxing at a cafe when at least one was supposed to be en route to a crime scene.
The Miami Herald has more information:
One of the fired officers, Dario Socarras, reportedly ignored armed robbery and residential burglary calls so he could meet his girlfriend in the parking lot of the Dadeland Mall on two different occasions…
And Socarras allegedly misled a crime victim into believing he was going to fill out a report about items that were stolen from her, but instead told dispatchers no crime had occurred. Investigators noted he even gave the victim a phony case number.
The most egregious incident involved an emergency call in which a five month old child was unconscious and in need of medical attention. Both Socarras and paramedics are dispatched, with each being told to proceed with lights and sirens.
Socarras tells the dispatcher he’s “en route.” In reality, he was sitting at an outdoor table at Casa Larios in South Miami drinking coffee with his supervisor, [Sgt. Jennifer Gonzalez] and [Officer Jose Huerta]. Paramedics would reach and care for the child. And even though he didn’t go, Socarras wrote on his daily report that he went to the scene. [Emphasis added]
Sgt. Gonzalez and Officer Huerta were the other two relieved of their posts. Gonzalez was caught visiting her parents in an area that was, according to CBS 4, “well outside her district.” She also tended to go shopping while she should have been on patrol.
Officer Huerta was similarly cited for failing to respond to emergency dispatch calls, most notably one where a five-year-old child was locked inside a vehicle. He allegedly made a habit of claiming he was tied up with traffic violations so he didn’t have to report.
According to CBS4 the group totaled 134 violations of departmental rules and procedures.
But the dereliction of duty was not limited to the three who were fired. Police officials say Gonzalez’s poor leadership affected the whole squad.
The Miami Herald notes that three others were suspended as a result of the investigation:
When someone called 911 from a Winn Dixie and abruptly hung up, Officers Jeffrey Price and Fabian Owens, riding in a two man car, were assigned the call. Internal Affairs watched as they cruised through the parking lot – never getting out of their car or for that matter even stopping.
On another occasion, Price and Owens also rolled by a Chevron gas station where there is a reported problem. On at least one occasion they never even bothered driving to the scene of the call, IA charged.
Likewise investigators documented how Officer Ivan Tomas, hung out at La Careta and Pollo Tropical rather than taking a series of emergency calls that were backing up. [Emphasis added]
Gonzalez, Huerta, and Socarras chose not to comment because they are trying to get their jobs back.
But former Miami Police Chief Ken Harms concluded: “We’re talking about falsification of records, we’re talking about stealing time that doesn’t belong to you, because they are supposed to be available for service or duty and they’re not.”
NBC 6 has more on the story, below: