Is North Miami the new Sweetwater? I’m beginning to wonder.
As Miami Herald reporter David Ovalle posted in Sweetwater cop charged for using stolen plates to avoid tolls, one more cop has been added to Sweetwater’s growing list of Cops Gone Wild.
This time, Sweetwater Detective Octavio Oliu is facing felony charges for using a stolen license place of an impounded vehicle and placing it on his own car “to shirk hundreds of highways tolls for months.”
He had also been previously suspended on another violation.
In 2007 he was “forced to resign from his previous job as a Miami-Dade cop.”
Despite that, Sweetwater hired Oliu in 2010, giving credence to a column cited by Random Pixels last year, which was published in the Sarasota Herald Tribune in a series entitled, “Florida police officers who keep their badges despite repeated instances of misconduct, and in many cases, criminal acts.” He quoted excerpts from the article, including:
“A Herald-Tribune computer analysis of the FDLE’s misconduct cases and employee data supported the idea that the state’s smaller agencies are a dumping ground for problem officers.”
Well, Sweetwater, move over. You got company.
The North Miami Police Department is no small agency, but considering that there seems to be a “problem officer” on its payroll right now, Jodlyn Antoine, whom Police Chief Leonard Burgess refuses to fire, despite three Internal Affairs investigations and recommendation to terminate from the officer’s chain of command, it certainly appears that North Miami’s PD is becoming that “dumping ground.”
If Sweetwater’s Detective Oliu thought he was oh so clever by using stolen plates to rack up “over 500 SunPass toll violations and even red light camera citations,” as FDLE agents believe, he can’t claim it as an original thought.
According to a blog post I dug up from June 19, 2008 entitled Police Corruption Part 2: Donald Blanchard, writer Suzanne C posted:
This one is truly UN-FREAKIN-BELIEVABLE!
Donald Blanchard IS (which is completely crazy considering what he did) a North Miami Traffic Officer. He pulled over a kid with an expired tag and confiscated the tag.
That alone is odd because I’ve been pulled over a few times for an expired tag and when I haven’t been able to get out of it, it’s just been a ticket…
Anyhow, the ‘un-freakin-believable’ part is that the tag owner, Kevyn Pope, started receiving Sunpass toll violations at $100/ea for months. (Sunpass is a pre-paid toll system with express lanes on tolled Florida highways.) Turns out Officer Blanchard put the expired tag on his city owned, unmarked police car to avoid getting a ticket for an expired tag himself, and drove around like that for months. He continuously drove through tolls without a pre-paid Sunpass transponder. One would think a traffic officer would know you’re not supposed to drive through there without a transponder…
The cameras photographed Pope’s tag and sent him toll violations exceeding $10,000 (that’s 100 toll violations) and told him they were suspending his license.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
It took a consumer affairs reporter to sort out the mess for this poor guy whose wife was undergoing a kidney transplant at the time.
Know what happened to good ole Officer Blanchard?
He was suspended for one week and ordered to pay $100 for the $10,000 in toll fines. The toll violations were dropped.
UN-FREAKIN-BELIEVABLE!!! If I did that, I’d be in jail. Who is supposed to protect us from the police? and why are they above the law? No wonder North Miami is so crime ridden- they’re just following the police’s lead!
Apparently stealing someone’s tag, passing it off as your own and running tolls is acceptable in North Miami. Shoot if the police can do it, why not us?
Not only did Officer Donald Blanchard not lose his job with the North Miami Police Department over this incident, but I understand he’s been promoted twice since then, including his most recent promotion to the rank of Commander.
Courtesy of Police Chief Leonard Burgess.
I’d make a public records request for Donald Blanchard’s history of Internal Affairs investigations, recommendations and disciplines, but, well, we already know that’s a lesson in futility.
Instead, I’m taking another route. One that involves the filing of complaints with various and sundry official agencies.
Because that’s what I do.
In the meantime, y’all can ask Chief Burgess why he likes to keep bad cops on the NMPD.
Because, apparently, that’s what he does.
Reporting live from
Sweetwater North Miami, I’m…
“Spreading the Wealth”