Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert is speaking out in the wake of the firing of the city's police chief following his arrest in a Broward prostitution sting, saying the top cop had to be immediately dismissed.
"They happen, people surprise you, it doesn't necessarily make them a bad person, but it does make it so they can't continue with the agency," Gilbert said in an exclusive interview with NBC 6 Tuesday.
Chief Stephen Johnson was fired last week following his arrest in Dania Beach by the Broward Sheriff's Office. BSO officials said Johnson offered money for sex with two women, who turned out to be undercover detectives.
"His actions, being in that hotel room, exchanging that money, it makes it difficult to continue as the police chief," Gilbert said. "We are going to arrest people for solicitation."
When people think Miami Gardens, it's often not good. Crime and scandal grip the headlines, despite what the mayor calls progress in development, beautification, and pointing to a recent sharp decrease in murders.
"That is lost to the contemporaneous moment of our need to blame and rush and yell and scream, and I get that," Gilbert said.
But he doesn't like it, and quotes President George W. Bush in making this point.
"He said that, Sometimes people suffer from the bigotry of low expectations, and I think that has happened here, I think you have convinced a community over time that they should expect less," Gilbert said. "I disagree with that."
Gilbert said the headlines will change in Miami Gardens, he promises sooner rather than later.
"There are going to be people who are vested in how things were and to them I apologize for their hurt feelings but I don't apologize for moving the community forward," he said. "This community is going to go forward."