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Miami Police Department suspends Hispanic police captain who said he identifies as a black male
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Miami Police Department suspends Hispanic police captain who said he identifies as a black male

Captain's declaration has 'drawn the ire of his bosses and the community'

The Miami Police Department has suspended Capt. Javier Ortiz, according to a new report in the Miami Herald.

What's a brief history?

On Jan. 17, Ortiz declared that he is black, and not Hispanic, despite identifying as Hispanic for most of his life.

"I'm a black male," he said, citing the "one-drop rule," which he claims says that "if you have one drop of black [blood] in you, you are considered black."

"Yes, I am. And I am not Hispanic. I was born in this country. That's how I feel," he said during a public hearing, which was part of a commission studying allegations of racism against black Miami Police Department employees.

His remarks ended up drawing heavy criticism from within the community.

Fraternal Order of Police President Tommy Reyes, for one, decried Ortiz's comments, saying, "I am embarrassed and saddened by Javier's public comments. He can identify however he'd like, but I do not believe he is a black male."

What are the details?

The suspension took place on Wednesday, according to the outlet. Ronald Papier, Miami deputy police chief, said that Ortiz is on indefinite suspension pending an investigation.

The Herald reported, however, that Ortiz's recent public declaration has "drawn the ire of his bosses and the community."

Other incidents involving Ortiz included a 2016 incident in which he publicly called for a boycott of performer Beyoncé, saying that she paid homage to the Black Panthers in her songs and dance routines. He also said that the award-winning entertainer was anti-police.

To note, Ortiz has also faced accusations of discrimination from some of Miami's black citizens in the past.

You can read more about his previous controversies here.

Anything else?

Rodney Jacobs, who is assistant director of Miami's Civilian Investigative Panel — an independent agency responsible for investigating complaints against local officers — decried Ortiz's remarks, saying that his declaration "minimizes what it means to be black."

"By citing the 'one-drop rule,' and using 'negroes' in the same sentence as 'I am a black man' is the trifecta of insensitivity," Jacobs said, according to the outlet. "It categorically undermines and demeans the essence of black culture, existence, struggle and history in America."

Ruben Roberts, chairman of the local NAACP chapter, also hit out against Ortiz's claim.

"Ortiz's behavior is a stain on the city of Miami and especially to the officers who work arduously to perform their sworn task to protect and serve in a fair and impartial way," Roberts said. "The Miami-Dade branch calls for Capt. Javier Ortiz immediate dismissal for his reckless behavior as a city of Miami police officer."

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