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Florida - Miami PD Fires Officer For Desecrating Jewish Items In Obscenity-Laced Video

Published on: January 24, 2019 04:24 PM
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Miami - Two months after being suspended without pay, a veteran officer with the Miami Police Department has been fired after video surfaced of him throwing out Jewish religious items while making crude comments.

The Miami Herald (https://hrld.us/2RbzT83) reported Sergeant Roberto Destephan was fired today due to concerns over his credibility prompted by cellphone video of him tossing a Jewish star topped wooden box topped and a Tanach several feet onto the open bed of a pickup truck outside the Fraternal Order of Police office in Miami.  Destephan can be heard in the video saying, “We don’t need this (obscenity) either, man. This (obscenity)? (Obscenity) this,” before turning the camera to show his face and continuing “takin’ out the trash, dawg.”

Destephan, a 13 year veteran, was placed on paid leave pending an investigation. His firing was announced today by Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina who said that Destephan had tarnished the department’s credibility and his own, potentially undermining any testimony he might give in future court cases.

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“There’s a lot of elements,” said Colina.  “It isn’t just what he said, but the consequences of that.  Do we lose the public’s trust?  Can we expect him to go out and do the right thing as a police officer? What happens in court if he makes an arrest? Does his character now come into question?”

The video surfaced just days before the Miami Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 20 was due to hold its elections, with Destephan, its vice president, running for another term in a hotly contested race.  A statement released by the union said that the footage had been heavily edited and that it was being used to discredit Destephan reported Local 10 (http://bit.ly/2Wb2YEh), which also shared an anti-Destephan Instagram post urging “the silent majority” to “stand up and finally be rid of the corruption,” bearing hashtags #wewillnotbeintimidated and #comeatmebro, that has since been removed.  DeStephan and his running mate both lost the election.

But Colina said that an investigation found no evidence to support those claims, and allegations that the items were discarded because they were contaminated by mold and termites could also not be proven.

The video of Destephan discarding the items was released by attorney John Cunill, who had served with the MPD until he resigned in 2004 after refusing to provide a urine sample for a drug case.  Cunill denied to say how he had gotten the video, which according to the police union, is several years old.

The Miami Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 20 office is headquartered in East Little Havana in a former Jewish funeral home, with the religious items believed to have been left behind by the previous occupants.  The union’s treasurer, Andrew Markowitz said that he has known DeStephan for more than 10 years both professionally and personally. He said that he believed that the video was released and the that he believed that the video was just a joke gone wrong.

“I’ve never heard him utter anti-Semitic remarks, nothing of that nature,” said Markowitz.



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 Jan 25, 2019 at 02:44 AM PaulinSaudi Says:

I would hope the media reports should he be rehired by another department.

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