The Miami police union president who retaliated against a woman earlier this year for pulling over a cop for speeding was reprimanded by internal affairs last week.
Miami Police Lieutenant Javier Ortiz, president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, was reprimanded for “discourtesy” and “improper procedure,” according to the internal affairs report completed on December 15.
When contacted for comment Tuesday afternoon, Ortiz said he was not even aware of the decision but provided the following statement:
The woman is a danger to my members and law enforcement as a whole. No regrets. She’s an officer safety risk pulling over a vehicle on the side of I-95. I’m in the process of appealing my write up as a violation of my first amendment rights.
A reprimand generally just means a letter will go into his file.
It all started on January 29 when Claudia Castillo spotted Miami-Dade police officer Daniel Fonticiella driving at a high rate of speed, so she began following him while recording with her phone.
After several miles of following him on a Miami expressway, he pulled over and walked back to her car, inquiring if she needed help.
She told him he was speeding and he apologized and went on his way.
She then posted the video on Facebook, which was then picked up by PINAC where it went hugely viral.
Ortiz, who is very outspoken on social media, especially about cases that do not even involve his department, took it upon himself to post the woman’s phone number on his Facebook page in retaliation for her having pulled over the cop, even though he works for a different agency and is represented by a different police union.
Castillo said she ended up receiving tons of calls from anonymous numbers, many of them making threats.
“They say, ‘be careful what you do. You better watch your back. Be careful how you proceed. You better drive very carefully,” she told Photography is Not a Crime in an interview earlier this year.
He also created memes from photos he obtained through her Facebook page, including one showing her driving a boat with a beer in her hand, accusing her of breaking the law.
Facebook ended up removing the posts on the basis that they violated the company’s terms of services.
Castillo stated the following in a Facebook message to Photography is Not a Crime:
Public perception of the abuse of power by police will not change until the departments begin to take action on behalf of the concerns of the its citizens. This complaint was filed in the beginning of the year and took months to be processed. Javier Ortiz was found to be in violation of at least 13 City of Miami Departmental Orders which are grounds for Dismissal, Suspension and Demotion, yet no action has been taken. The City should take this opportunity to make an example out of this individual who has repeatedly demonstrated his conduct to be unbecoming of a police officer.
She said she would like to file a lawsuit, so is interested in hearing from lawyers willing to take her case.
PINAC Executive Director Grant Stern contributed to this report.