MIAMI (AP) — Miami’s new police chief said he has fired two high-level police officials — a married couple — because they weren’t truthful about a crash involving a city-issued SUV.
Deputy Police Chief Ronald Papier and his wife Nerly Papier, a commander in Little Havana, were fired Tuesday after a nearly three-month investigation, the Miami Herald reported. It’s one of the first major decisions made by Chief Art Acevedo, who took over the Miami department in April after four years in Houston.
“Any time we see folks terminated, it’s sad,” Acevedo said. “But we all have to be accountable for our actions.”
The Papiers’ attorney, Eugene Gibbons, said he will continue to fight for the couple’s employment. He called the investigation a sham and claimed that the Papiers were targeted by the department’s internal affairs office and Acevedo.
Nerly Papier told officials that she was heading to work the morning of April 2 when she crashed her SUV into a curb to avoid another vehicle that had veered into her lane. Acevedo said his final decision to fire her came after internal affairs investigators concluded Nerly Papier had left out important details such as pedestrians being on the sidewalk when the vehicle jumped the curb and her running at least two red lights while driving the vehicle to the office on its rims.
According to an internal affairs report, Ron Papier, who had served as acting chief for two months before Acevedo took over, was terminated because he didn’t recuse himself from the investigation into his wife or tell Acevedo about a Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office investigation, which found no criminal wrongdoing.
The same day as the crash, three days before Acevedo was officially sworn in, he was meeting with the city’s command staff when he told them, “You lie, you die.” According to a discipline report, Acevedo told everyone at the meeting that if any of his officers violated a sacred trust, a community standard or betrayed their badge, their careers would be at stake.