A city of Miami police captain with a history of racist comments, excessive force and “abuse and bias” has been performing paid off-duty work at the University of Miami medical campus.
Recently reinstated Miami Police Capt. Javier Ortiz has become one of Miami’s most well-known police officers for his long history of controversies.
The complaints against him have been well documented by the local press. Notable incidents from his history include a suspension for falsely claiming to be Black and referring to Black people as “negroes.” Another time he referred to Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old Black child shot and killed by police in Cleveland, as a “thug.” He also pulled over a Black woman, accused her of buying drugs with no evidence and then asked her how she could afford the car she was driving. The Miami New Times created a list of every time he has been accused of doing something racist. He was just recently reinstated after serving a 13-month paid administrative leave.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Federal Bureau of Investigation recently completed an investigation into Ortiz’s behavior. The report says as a police officer he has “engaged in a pattern of abuse and bias against minorities, particularly African Americans.” The report also says that Ortiz “has been known for cyber stalking and doxing civilians who question his authority or file complaints against him.”
Despite this publicly available information, UM allowed Ortiz to work at the medical campus on a near weekly basis last month. According to public records, Ortiz worked three 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. shifts at UM on March 1, 8 and 15.
According to the Miami Herald, Ortiz officially has been reassigned to a job in the fleet department, keeping him off the street, but jobs such as the off-duty work he is performing at the medical campus allow him to continue to act as an officer on the streets. The off-duty work is also a lucrative and desirable side job for many police officers.
Unlike UM’s main campus, which is staffed by an armed police force composed of sworn officers of the Coral Gables Police Department, the medical campus has no such police force. Rather, the medical campus is primarily watched by “over 120 uniformed security guards” who monitor the campus 24/7 according to the 2020-2021 University of Miami security report.
But, these security guards are not the only security personnel around the campus.
According to the security report, “The Miami-Dade County Police Department assigns a small contingent of officers to the complex on a full-time basis through a formal agreement with Jackson Health System. However, no direct formal written agreement exists between any law enforcement agency and this campus.”
UM declined multiple requests for comment for this article.
After multiple phone calls to UM medical communications and media relations person Lisa Worley went unanswered, The Hurricane sent an email to UM’s communication department seeking comment. The Hurricane’s email asked if UM was aware of Ortiz’s past when he was hired, if he was eligible for future work for UM and what type of duties he performed for UM last month. That email went unanswered.
This is not the first time UM has hired Ortiz for off-duty work.
In June of 2019, The New Times reported Miami’s Civilian Oversight committee received an anonymous tip that Ortiz was allegedly being overcompensated while working at UM. UM declined to provide the committee with pay documents without a court order.
Ortiz and his attorney did not return calls from The Hurricane seeking comment.