Miami Beach Police Chief Raymond Martinez said Friday that he has relieved two police officers of duty as they are investigated for separate allegations, only a week after he assumed his post on the charge of bringing reform to the department.
Martinez said that he relieved Police Officer Michael Veski of duty on Thursday “due to the seriousness of the allegations” against him, as Internal Affairs conducts an investigation.
Martinez would not provide specifics at a press conference Friday afternoon, but he confirmed to The Miami Herald earlier this week that the investigation concerns allegations that an off-duty officer was drinking a beer while a passenger in his police car.
Martinez said he expected the Veski investigation to be completed as soon as possible.
“The case is progressing, and I feel very confident in the actions that I have taken,” he said.
Veski, who is on paid leave, declined to comment at his apartment building Friday.
“I’m sorry, I can’t comment on an open investigation," he said.
Martinez said that he also relieved Officer Eric Dominguez of duty Thursday pending another investigation “involving the operation of his marked police vehicle.”
“Any evidence that we have right now I can’t release right now. It’s part of the investigation,” Martinez said.
City Manager Jorge Gonzalez appointed Martinez, 53, “based on who had the ability to best manage the necessary reforms in the police department,” which has seen its share of scandals. Miami Beach commissioners approved in a 4-2 vote last Wednesday, March 21, and Martinez was sworn in the next day.
A 32-year police veteran, he was assistant chief and then interim chief since November, when Carlos Noriega retired.
Martinez said one task Gonzalez has set for him “is to make sure that we restore the public trust of this organization, and that’s what I will do.”
“I will take swift and decisive action to protect the integrity of this organization, and the hardworking men and women of this department who serve this community day in and day out,” he said in a statement at the outset of his press conference. “Part of my charge as the new chief of police is to reform the department and to ensure greater accountability of our officers. I believe this is the first step in this process. I will not tolerate any behavior that undermines the confidence and public trust in our officers and the Miami Beach Police Department.”