The city of Miami has started termination proceedings against four police officers who have been on paid administrative leave after an internal investigation by the Police Department.
City Manager Jeff Bishop said the names and positions of the officers are not being disclosed, but that the procedure for removing the four has begun. He also declined to say what alleged violations the officers face.
“The only official statement we are making is that they were in violation of internal policy,” Bishop said. “This was not an external event, but an internal policy violation.”
The officers will have 10 days to appeal the decision, and the terminations will not be final until the officers have had their opportunity to appeal. Bishop said no criminal charges will be filed by the city against the officers, as is usual in internal affairs investigations.
The pending dismissals come on the heels of Teresa A. Lashmet, a Miami police officer, being charged with three felonies stemming from a May 2013 incident involving the arrest of a Miami resident.
Lashmet, 36, was indicted by an Oklahoma grand jury on two counts of perjury and one count of engaging in a pattern of criminal offenses. She was involved in the arrest of Jerry Dean Payne Jr., 36. Payne was arrested in the parking lot of the Stables Casino, and initially was charged with misdemeanor violations of driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license and obstructing an officer.
The charges were based on Miami police officers’ reports, but Payne contended that evidence from a video camera mounted on the dashboard of an Oklahoma Highway Patrol car contradicted police accounts of the arrest. The video shows what appears to be the defendant being kicked in the face by an officer after two others had taken him to the ground outside his truck.
A city review of the arrest was started after issues were raised by Eddie Wyant, Ottawa County district attorney. Wyant on Oct. 21 dropped the three charges, according to Payne’s attorney, Clint Ward, of the Vinita law firm of Ward, Lee and Coats.
Lashmet and three other unidentified officers were placed on administrative leave with pay in the wake of the arrest. Three more officers were placed on paid administrative leave in January of this year in connection with undisclosed incidents.