I thought nothing of it at first. The caller was an acquaintance I hadn’t spoken to in a few weeks. I figured he was just calling to say hello and catch up.
I didn’t even think it was unusual that this acquaintance brought up my first blog post about North Miami Police Chief Leonard Burgess’ decision not to fire alleged “bad cop” Jodlyn Antoine. Lots of people call me to discuss local politics and what I write in my blogs.
The dude on the phone suggested that perhaps I didn’t know the whole story. He was right about that. At the time, all I knew about the matter was what I’d heard on radio host Rotchill Anderson’s show.
But, when this acquaintance began defending the Chief’s actions because “other cops had done worse things without getting fired,” it hit me!
This was no friendly phone call.
Here was a wannabe political operative – a useful idiot the Chief assigned to play spin doctor.
I suppose the Chief needed a quick course of action.
I’ve been the target of Chief Leonard Burgess’ ire ever since I outed former (and future?) mayoral candidate Kevin Burns for his campaign fire truck sporting what appeared to be a city issued temporary license tag. I pondered how Kevin had been driving all over North Miami with bogus plates without being cited by the NMPD for this violation. I’m guessing the Chief was a tad miffed when I posted,
Why hasn’t anyone in the North Miami Police Department stopped this vehicle in the last three months to check for registration?
Chief Burgess, do you have an answer for that?
Yeah, I guess that would bother me, too. If I were a Police Chief.
But public figures employed by governmental agencies often come under public scrutiny and are subject to criticism. Especially by the taxpayers who employ them. Even more so by the media.
A true leader will learn from the critique, adjust his behavior (and his attitude), continue to do his job, and hope for the best.
Bloggers, for example, are also public figures of a sort. We’re often targets of harsh criticism. It’s the nature of the beast.
Those of us who succumb to pressure to kill a story for political purposes might as well go home and make cookies for a PTA bake sale.
The rest of us deal with it.
While a select few of us take it as a challenge.
Needless to say, the dude hasn’t called me back. I don’t expect to hear from him any time soon.
The second message I received was even more perplexing when the caller told me that Chief Burgess asked him to call me and say, “What’s up?”
Oh, well, I guess. Challenge accepted!
It became quite apparent that Chief Leonard Burgess was doing his best to keep me from questioning his decisions by attempting to shut me up. As you can imagine, that only made me dig my heels in further.
Fortunately for me, I’ve had plenty of practice being a gadfly.
It appears Chief Burgess didn’t get that memo.
For example, back in 2010 North Miami Beach EX-Mayor Myron Rosner didn’t appreciate my criticism of him. In retaliation, he reported me to Code Enforcement. Some people would have been intimidated. I’m not one of them.
As the Miami New Times noted:
If his goal was to silence the legal secretary and 20-year North Miami Beach resident, Rosner struck out big time. The very next day, Miami’s best gadfly was back on her computer, blogging about Rosner’s crackdown and demanding his head. What a pain in the ass! (That’s a compliment, Stephanie.)
It took a perp walk for Myron to realize just what a pain in the ass I could be.
Chief Burgess can try his best to spin the truth, but there’s a public record for that!
As I noted in OMG! THIS CHIEF!, Burgess “unilaterally ignored all OFFICIAL RECOMMENDATIONS, including a directive by the City Manager,” despite the fact that the Disposition Panel recommended that Police Officer Jodlyn Antoine be dismissed.
But Chief Burgess didn’t appreciate my pointing that out.
So a couple nights ago I got yet another phone call from and old friend who admitted to being a “go-between.” My friend left me a voicemail claiming that “the Chief wants to have a sit down” with me because I seem to “have a mis-perception of him.” The message continued with “he wants to get to know me and wants me to get to know him.”
But, the final straw – and the reason I’m even writing this blog – is that a former North Miami Police Commander, retired for fifteen years, sent a comment for my approval to post on my blog in an attempt to dispute each and every fact that I uncovered in my research about Police Chief Leonard Burgess’ flawed decision to keep a “bad cop” on the force.
Based on the details in the comment, it was quite apparent that this person had been recruited to spin the truth with straw man arguments and to “school” me on such things as due process, Police Officer’s Bill of Rights, and collective bargaining.
This useful idiot also tried to paint a glowing picture of Jodlyn Antoine as “Officer of the Decade,” who was just a poor, misunderstood victim of circumstances.
In other words, this individual thought I was born yesterday.
Of course, I did my research.
I discovered that this former Commander had retired in 2000, had not been involved with the Police Department since that time, had never worked with Officer Antoine, and had no working knowledge of this investigation other than what was already a public record. It was quite obvious this individual was doing the Chief’s bidding by contacting me.
Needless to say, this person’s attempt at damage control was an Epic Fail.
Also, needless to say, I didn’t allow that ridiculous comment to be posted. It’s bad enough Chief Burgess is attempting to bully me into silence. But I will not allow my website to be used for propaganda purposes in order to “sell his side of the story” to my readers.
As such, I wrote back to the retired Commander explaining my position, reiterating the UNDISPUTED, VERIFIABLE FACTS of the case, and stating that if Chief Burgess wishes to to dispute my findings, he’s free to purchase ad space in the Miami Herald.
In other words, “Talk to the hand.”
I added, “Chief Burgess would do well to cease and desist his attempts at discrediting me and focus on running the Police Department as a respectable and professional law enforcement agency instead of a high school.”
I sure hope he gets that memo.
“Spreading the Wealth”