Miami police officers caught on camera allegedly ignoring 911 calls
The Miami Dade Police Department has fired a sergeant and two officers and suspended three others without pay in what is considered one of the worst incidents of delinquency in the department’s history, CBS Miami reports.
The accusations vary against each officer, but they include: failing to respond to emergency calls, pretending to be on calls when they weren’t and falsifying police records, according to the station.
The officers– an entire squad assigned to patrol a large area of Kendall, Fla. — were followed and caught on surveillance video by Internal Affairs in 2010, but it wasn’t until September 2012 that they were ultimately disciplined, the station says.
According to CBS Miami, one of the fired officers, Dario Socarras, is accused of ignoring armed robbery and residential burglary calls so he could meet his girlfriend in a mall parking lot. Socarras was caught on surveillance video on two different occasions kissing and cuddling his girlfriend in a parking lot as other officers were forced to respond to emergency calls for help.
Socarras also allegedly misled a crime victim into believing he was going to fill out a report about stolen items, but instead told dispatchers no crime had occurred. He even gave the victim a phony case number, CBS Miami reports.
Socarras, along with Sgt. Jennifer Gonzalez and Officer Jose Huerta were fired after an internal police panel reviewed their actions.
In total, the internal investigation reported 134 violations of departmental rules and procedures.
Investigators claim Gonzalez went shopping when she should have been working. In one case, surveillance video captured a store clerk helping her load her goods into the squad car. Investigators also allege she would spend hours visiting her parents when she should have been on patrol or supervising other officers in her squad.
According to the station, Huerta was criticized for not immediately responding to a call where a 5-year-old child was locked inside a vehicle. Huerta would allegedly claim to be tied up on a call on several different occasions when in fact he was free to respond.
Perhaps the most egregious incident of all involved all three of the fired officers. According to the station, Socarras was dispatched on an emergency call in which a 5-month-old child was unconscious and in need of medical attention. Socarras reportedly told the dispatcher he was “en route.” In reality, he was out drinking coffee with his supervisor, Sgt. Gonzalez, and Officer Huerta.
The other three suspended officers, Jeffrey Price, Fabian Owens, and Ivan Tomas, are also accused of various violations including failing to respond to the scene of an emergency call. All three received suspensions ranging from five to 20 days for their actions, the station reports.
According to CBS Miami, Gonzalez is planning on appealing her firing. Socarras and Huerta are also trying to get their jobs back.