What started out as a traffic stop ended up with a Miami Police officer and a Miami Police Lieutenant fighting with each other and having to be pulled apart by fellow officers.
The story was first reported by the Crespogram blog. According to the blog, the incident happened last month outside a gas station on Flagler Street and 18th Avenue. Officer Marcel Jackson saw a car near Marlins Park and eventually pulled the silver vehicle over.
Officer Jackson, who had a personal camera rolling on his dashboard, said the man in the car was speeding. The video, obtained by Crespogram, showed the car moving faster than the flow of traffic.
“You know, I was actually on my way to a call,” Officer Jackson told a man named Rick on the phone after the incident. “The only reason I stopped him is because he approached a pedestrian. He was flying, so I pulled him over.”
The driver of the silver car turned out to be Lieutenant David Ramras from Internal Affairs from the same department as Officer Jackson. The traffic stop turned violent, Officer Jackson said on the phone, when Lieutenant Ramras commented on Jackson’s appearance.
“He’s like, ‘What’s all that stuff on your face,’” Officer Marcel said on the phone. “And I’m like, ‘Excuse me? I said, ‘Sir, that’s none of your concern.’ And then he, and then he pushes open the door.”
The video shows the lieutenant pushing his way out of the car and then in a scuffle with Officer Jackson, who then took the lieutenant to the ground. As other officers arrived, the two law enforcement officers were pulled apart and exchanged words.
Lt. David Ramras: “Do you know who the *expletive* I am?”
Officer Marcel Jackson: “No, I don’t.”
Lt. Ramras: “I showed you ID.”
Both officers are members of the Fraternal Order of Police. The FOP said in a statement that parts of the story are incorrect.
“Some of the conversations and information provided in these stories were not captured by the secret records or coming from credible sources,” the FOP said in its statement.
Officer Jackson has been relieved of duty with pay. Lt. Ramras has been reassigned to an investigations unit. The state attorney's office is investigating the matter because Lt. Ramras' division was internal affairs, which typically investigates matters like this.
Monday night, Officer Jackson's attorney, Scott Srebnick sent a letter to Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa and Major Jorge Martin of the Special Investigations Section. The letter requested that Miami Police recuse themselves from the case and "demand that Officer Jackson be returned to duty forthwith."
The letter said in part: "Given the incident involves a high ranking officer formerly assigned to IA, and given the disparate treatment of the two officers to date, fairness and the appearance of fairness require that this matter be assigned to another law enforcement agency for investigation. Indeed, one of the matters that ought to be investigated is the handling of the investigation in the hours immediately following the incident....The fact that the internal investigation is apparently being handled by a unit other than IA - the Speical Investigations Section - provides me no additional comfort given Lt. Ramras's high-ranking position in the MPD. Moreover, given the statements attributed to Chief Orosa in the on-line edition of the Miami Herald today, it appears that Chief Orosa has already reached certain conclusions about the facts before any formal statements have ever been taken and withou even knowing all the facts."