By Gus Garcia-Roberts
The chief of Miami Beach Police is insisting that his officers do not have a 2,000-arrest quota this Memorial Day weekend. But the department’s union vice president tells Riptide that he witnessed a major announce the quota at an officer roll call — and that his department has such quotas every year during the predominantly-black party weekend on South Beach.
“It’s racial profiling,” says Det. Gustavo Sanchez, “and it’s against our operating procedure.”
Sanchez says that Major Angel Vasquez– widely regarded to be Chief Raymond Martinez’s second-in-command– announced the 2,000-arrest quota to officers.
On Monday, union president Alejandro Bello wrote to chief Martinez, claiming that “numerous officers” reported a supervisor announcing the quota. Bello called the quota “patently unfair and unjust to both our officers and the community.”
In an emailed response, Martinez insisted that “there is no arrest quota for Memorial Day Weekend or any other day on Miami Beach.”
But statistical arrest requirements are nothing new, claims the union veep Sanchez. Though he says the current chief has been smart enough to avoid issuing quotas himself, he recalls former chief Don DeLucca demanding 1,000 arrests before a Memorial Day weekend. (DeLucca now helms the Golden Beach force.)
Slacking on quotas can get you confined to desk duty, says Sanchez. Going arrest-crazy gets you rewarded: “There’s a payoff for the cop who helps fill the quotas, because it effects their evaluation. The first consideration becomes making an arrest. That’s all they care about. They don’t care if it’s a bullshit arrest. They don’t care if it’s dismissed.”
Questioned about Sanchez’s comments, police spokesperson Vivian Hernandez says: “We have no quotas here at MBPD. If there was some sort of quota that they say was issued, it may have been a misunderstanding or taken out of context. Angel Vasquez did not issue any quota.”