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March 13, 2017
After complaints of thefts during searches, Miami police Officer Jose R. Acosta was arrested last Saturday, according to the Miami Police Department.
Officer Acosta was arrested in a sting operation involving the Miami Police Department with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office.
He had been patrolling the Wynwood area just north of downtown.
Miami police officials said after the undercover sting, the 22 year old police officer, who had only been with the department since May of 2016, was arrested on charges of armed burglary of conveyance and armed grand theft.
He has been relieved of duty without pay and officials say he will most likely be fired.
Press conferences and surveillance video of his arrest
"The city of Miami Police Department will not tolerate actions that betray the oath of our office as public servants and contradict our duty to serve and to protect our communities," Miami Deputy Chief of Police Luis Cabrera said.
Officer Jose Acosta robbed at least five people, police said at a news conference on Monday.
It seems so many complaints were made about this particular officer that his supervisors decided to investigate.
Officials set up a sting operation on Friday with the State Attorney's Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement after receiving several complaints in February of a Miami police officer taking money during traffic stops.
The charges against Acosta come from a traffic stop on Friday in the area of NW 3rd Avenue and NW 22 Street in which an undercover officer was sent out with a total of $1,250 in marked cash.
"He took the driver out of the vehicle and searched his pockets, removing his wallet and a bank envelope," according to Deputy Chief Cabrera, who said that Acosta placed the items on the driver's seat of the vehicle while he placed the motorist in the back of his police vehicle.
"Acosta entered the driver’s vehicle and took $940 from the driver’s wallet and bank envelope," Cabrera explained. "He released the driver without issuing a citation or notifying police dispatch that he had made a traffic stop. Acosta concluded his tour of duty without declaring, reporting or otherwise documenting any money that he had taken."
Investigators said they watched the officer conduct five separate stops, in which he had each victim step out of their vehicle while he searched each of the vehicles and then released the drivers without announcing any of the calls over the police radio or issuing citations.
Without reporting a thing to police dispatch, which is something officers are supposed to do, he let the man go and continued on his patrol, Deputy Chief Cabrera said.
By not alerting dispatch if any of his “victims” were to go to the police department to complain, all he had to do is simply deny he had ever pulled them over.
With dispatch records backing his version, he could then say what so many other corrupt cops have said; who are you going to believe, me and the records, or them?
Cabrera said that Acosta did not appear to have probable cause to stop the motorists he is believed to have stolen from.
Acosta was booked into the Miami-Dade County Jail on charges of burglary and grand theft, but he was later released after posting bond Saturday night.
Kathy Fernandez Rundle, the state attorney, said Acosta may end up facing more serious charges once all the evidence is in.
“Using a police badge to commit crimes is intolerable,” the state attorney said.
Miami police have some other issues with public trust.
The arrest comes after the department's firing of three other rookie police officers last year; Kevin Bergnes, Miguel Valdes and Bruce Alcin, after they were accused of joking about using the city's primarily black neighborhoods for target practice.
A federal investigation into the department, prompted by a rash of police shootings several years ago, resulted in oversight by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The agreement runs until 2020.
It could end earlier if Miami and Justice agree that police have maintained compliance for a full year.
“Instead of seeking to rid Miami of crime, he became a criminal himself,” Miami-Dade State’s Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said.
State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle also said her office will prosecute to the "full vigor of the law."
"I deeply believe that public corruption crimes steal the public’s trust," she said at Monday's press conference.
"Without trust, law enforcement loses its credibility.
Officer Acosta never should have done that to this police department or to this community."
“These acts of public corruption make everyone, unfortunately, very cynical.”
The mayor said that the city will continue its plans to hire dozens of new officers over the next several months, while police officials said that there is no need to make changes to the screening process or officer training program based on this one case.
"It's important that the people of Miami, the residents and visitors of the city of Miami know, are assured, that the mission of the police department of the city of Miami is to protect and serve and that mission will continue," Mayor Regalado said at a press conference to discuss the arrest of Officer Jose R. Acosta.
Deputy Police Chief Luis Cabrera stressed that the investigation is still open and that there are other possible victims.
"We are still interviewing these people and gathering more information," said Cabrera.
"I will not disclose the amount right now of victims but, yes there are numerous victims that this officer has targeted and victimized. ... He's taken money from all of these victims."
"We’re urging any members of the community who have had property taken from them by this officer or have information related to additional incidents to please come forward and provide the internal affairs section a statement of the facts," said Deputy Police Chief Luis Cabrera.
Another Example of Police Corruption in South Florida.
We commend the Miami Police Department, The Dade State Attorney's Office, and The Florida Department of Law Enforcement for the rather quick arrest after complaints about him started coming in.
As we state on our About-Us Page;
We would also like to encourage the “honest and good” officers of law enforcement, to stand up and let it be known that you won’t tolerate misconduct or corruption of any kind and you will expose it when you see it.
So to the law enforcement officers of South Florida, you are in the best position to clean up your own departments, and the citizens of Florida would like your help.
After all, isn’t that why you became a law enforcement officer in the first place?
Keep the pressure on and keep getting involved South Florida!
It appears to be working.
These corrupt Police Officers are beginning to find out they're going to end up in jail, and those officers who just look the other way, could end up there along with them.
South Florida Corruption.com