As in all human endeavors, there are individuals who do an excellent and dedicated job, and then there are the others. The North Miami Beach Police Department is a perfect example. Here is an example.
North Miami Beach police are investigating a comment submitted to a local blog that encouraged criminals to go after two well-known citizen activists. The threat was posted using a police department computer.
North Miami Beach police are investigating a threatening submission to a resident’s blog that was posted using a city-issued computer. The anonymous post invited criminals to pay a visit to two outspoken city activists. The statements under investigation were submitted to gadfly Stephanie Kienzle’s blog votersopinion.com and was traced back to a city-issued police department computer, North Miami Beach Major Kathy Katerman confirmed.
Kienzle, who sent a letter to the police department requesting an investigation last week, never published the post on her site — which requires the moderators to approve submissions — but did save the text. In the post, the writer defends the police department against proposed cuts during the city’s budget process. The poster wrote, “There has been a tremendous amount of good work done by the North Miami Beach PD. There is a lot of crime deterred, caught, and handled by the PD. The specialty units that are being threatened to be dismantled are only going to assist the criminals. Gangs and criminals only look for opportunities.”
The poster called out two council meeting regulars who have supported the city’s call to reduce the police force. In the post, resident Mubarak Kazan, who is Muslim, is called “Al-Jazzerri” and Bert Kehren, a resident of German heritage, a “Nazi”. The poster goes on to say, “Criminals, here it is” — followed by a description of Kazan’s house and directions to where both men live. The poster tells the criminals to “have fun”.
“That wasn’t very cool,” Kienzle said. “I wasn’t going to publish residents’ addresses and let someone say, ‘Criminals, go get them’. I felt that it was necessary to bring it to the attention of the police chief.” North Miami Beach police declined to provide further details citing an ongoing investigation that will likely be completed in the coming days.
Interim Police Chief Larry Gomer said in statement, “I am fully aware of the email blog that went through our police department server. I find the comments and content inappropriate and immediately opened an internal affairs investigation…Any wrongdoing by one of our officers will be dealt with swiftly and firmly. Gomer said residents who have complaints or feel that they are being singled out by North Miami Beach police officers are encouraged to report them to him personally or the police department’s internal affairs unit.
“I would tell residents not to broad brush the whole police department with a few that have made comments that are inappropriate. Everybody in the police department will continue to treat residents with the respect that they are due,” he said. Kazan, well-known around City Hall for snapping photos at council meetings and speaking during public comment, said he has lost faith in the city’s police department.
“This is about everybody. Today they might pick on me; tomorrow they might pick on you. I do not have confidence the police department will bring this individual to justice,” Kazan said. Kehren, whose also a regular at the microphone during public comment at council meetings, said while he doesn’t take the attack personally, the city has to address what he calls “a sick police department.”
“This kind of stuff just has no room in our city. Nothing surprises me anymore,” Kehren said. Both men, as well as other North Miami Beach residents such as Kienzle, have come under attack for their public comments on leoaffairs.com, an online forum where police officers and the public can post under anonymous user names. In one post, a user calls Kazan “Barak Husseini Al Jazeeri” and “Taliban.” Kehren is also referenced in another blog post on Leo Affairs as “Nazi Bert.” Kienzle said the actions of a few police officers are casting a negative light on the entire department.
“It has absolutely gotten personal, they are trying to lash out on anybody who disagrees with them,” Kienzle said. “I understand they’re upset, but they don’t have a right to take their feeling out like this on the public.
There is no question about it, this is inexcusable and the City of North Miami Beach must investigate. A public servant carrying a gun cannot be a bully.
On the other side of the coin, our Eastern Shores Crime Watch led by the indomitable Fortuna Smukler received a very well earned recognition by the 36th Annual Citizens’ Crime Watch – Miami Dade County. She was nominated as Chairperson of the Year. We are very happy that a hard working community responsible person and her group are recognized for their work. Congratulations Fortuna.
Across the ways, in North Miami, Councilman Scott Galvin provides us with the following information. When Ricardo Brutus, Mayor Pierre’s nephew and campaign manager, was arrested in March, it was for allegedly taking a bribe to pull a garbage privatization issue off a City Council agenda.
He was heard on a recording made by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) saying that the issue would instead be placed back on an agenda at a later time. The City Council agenda for the meeting tonight, Tuesday, September 27th has just been released. Despite the controversy surrounding the garbage privatization issue, it is, in fact, back. Councilman Galvin’s Press Release continues:
And this time, it’s not simply focused on commercial areas. The proposed Resolution asks Staff to study privatizing garbage pick-up for all residential areas, too. Outsourcing our garbage and trash pick-up is a bad for many reasons: If your pick up was late, you’d no longer be able to call City Hall for prompt resolution. We’d be at the whims of a private company for the rates we pay for service. Ever try arguing your bill to FPL or Comcast? In the case of an emergency or storm, we’d have to wait our turn behind other cities for our streets to be cleaned.
Please plan on attending the September 27th meeting. It starts at 7:00 pm at City Hall. Let’s tell our leaders that privatizing garbage is bad.