As inexplicable as last summer’s shooting of an unarmed black man by North Miami Police Officer Jonathan Aledda was, the ensuing Internal Affairs investigation of Commander Emile Hollant is even more mind-blowing.
While the shooter was relieved of duty with pay, the Commander was falsely accused of lying to investigators about his involvement in the incident, and immediately suspended without pay. While Hollant’s pay was eventually restored, he has yet been allowed to return to duty.
Meanwhile, the NMPD’s IA division opened its ridiculous investigation after Assistant Chief Larry Juriga and the now retired Major Trevor Shinn told Chief Gary Eugene that Hollant claimed he wasn’t even at the scene of the shooting. They also said that Aledda fired his weapon on Hollant’s command.
Although both of those allegations were complete fiction, once they were made they set in motion a series of events that have since destroyed the careers and reputations of two law dedicated enforcement officers.
Make no mistake, it was all by design.
Nine months later, long after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney’s Office found that Commander Hollant did nothing wrong, NMPD’s Internal Affairs Sergeant Diana Roman hastened to wrap up the department’s witch hunt of an investigation against him.
Then on June 14, 2017, the night before Chief Gary Eugene was to return to work, Commander Hollant was served with a Notice of Intent to Terminate and Right to Pre-Determination Hearing.
Worse, the notice was signed by the very officer who tried to frame him in the first place – Assistant Chief Larry Juriga.
Barring any divine intervention … in the form of city officials coming to their senses, Commander Hollant will have the opportunity to defend himself against the bogus allegations next week at his pre-determination hearing.
Good luck with that.
On the day before Hollant was served, the city posted on the NMPD website under the “newsroom” tab several documents, including the FDLE’s investigation and the sworn statements given to the State Attorney’s Office by several officers on February 13, 2017.
On June 14, 2017, the same day Hollant was being served, 72 more items, comprised of over 1,000 pages, were posted on the police department’s “transparency portal.” City officials knew full well it would take days, possibly weeks, for anyone to review all of them – and long after Commander Hollant’s pre-determination hearing would take place.
Still missing from all this “transparency,” however, were two critical documents: The recommendation of Hollant’s direct supervisor, Major Timothy Belcher, and the Memorandum from Assistant Chief Neal Cuevas.
Fortunately, and much to the dismay of city officials, Police Chief Gary Eugene had already provided us with those documents, which were posted on VotersOpinion on June 17, 2017.
The Cuevas Memo presented a major roadblock for Larry Juriga’s grand scheme to destroy Emile Hollant’s life and career as a police officer.
Because his attempt to get the State Attorney’s Office to file criminal charges against the Commander was an epic fail, Juriga’s only hope of bringing down Commander Hollant was to make sure that the Internal Affairs Disposition Panel saw things his way.
Judging by the way Larry Juriga was able to steer the outcome of the IA investigation, there is very little doubt he would do whatever it took to get rid of Hollant.
On July 18, 2016, the day of the shooting, Sergeant Reid was interviewed by Detective Michael Gaudio about the incident. You can also read a transcript of this entire interview beginning on page 19 of Item 53 of Sergeant Reid’s statements.
Beginning on page 14, you can also read a transcript of Sergeant Reid’s interview with State Attorney Ed Principe on August 1, 2016, exactly two weeks after the shooting.
Pay close attention to the first two sworn statements he gave immediately after the shooting. We read and reread those 21 pages of testimony multiple times, yet we didn’t see the name “Commander Hollant” on any of them. If it’s there, then we missed it.
In fact, in the statement he gave to Detective Gaudio, mere hours after the shooting, Sergeant Reid testified that he only saw Officers Aledda, Bernadeau and Crespo, and Sergeant Reyes immediately before, during and after he heard the gunshots. He never once even mentioned Commander Hollant.
Now compare those interviews to the sworn statements he gave under oath to Chief Assistant State Attorney Esther Jacobo on February 13, 2017 and to NMPD Internal Affairs Sergeant Diana Roman on February 15, 2017, during which Reid all of a sudden “remembered” seeing Commander Emile Hollant during “that shooting.” (page 3, line 122)
It’s interesting to note here that the only reason the State Attorney’s Office again questioned NMPD officers on February 13, 2017 was at the request of NMPD police investigators for the sole purpose of trying to get the SAO to reopen its first inquiry on Hollant.
In fact, Assistant Chief Larry Juriga, Commander Angel Rivera and Sergeant James Mesidor were so intent on nailing Commander Hollant for one trumped up charge or another, that one week after the shooting on July 25, 2016, they asked Chief Gary Eugene for permission to give statements to the State Attorney’s Office. He told them “NO!” and to let the FDLE “complete their investigation before the state attorney talks to anyone.” (see page 9 of Chief Eugene’s IA statement)
Undaunted, Juriga even had the sheer chutzpah to ask the Chief if he can have the state attorney offer the Commander a deal to turn in his police certification in exchange for the SAO dropping charges against him.
The Chief told him “NO!”
When Juriga kept insisting that he needed to give a statement to the State Attorney, Chief Eugene, FDLE officer Troy Walker, the city manager and the city attorney all told him “NO!”
Even after being told twice to stay out of it and let the FDLE do its job, Juriga would not let it go.
That very same night, he called the Chief to ask if it was okay for him, Rivera and Mesidor to give a statement to the SAO early the next morning.
Again, the Chief told him “NO!”
As Biscayne Times reporter Mark Sell noted in his column published yesterday, (UPDATED: Article now posted online) Were they railroaded?:
Sgt. Diana Roman, who was conducting the Internal Affairs investigation, and police department consultant Adam Burden, who was steering it, then visited the State Attorney’s Office on February 27 with additional testimony from Reid and others, seeking to get the office to retract its August 2, 2016, statement that “Commander Hollant did not lie.”
The State Attorney’s Office refused.
In fact, the SAO refused their request not once, but twice. First on April 5, 2017 via an email from Chief Assistant State Attorney Jose J. Arrojo, and again on April 14, 2017 via email from Assistant State Attorney Howard Rosen.
When all of his blatant attempts to scapegoat Commander Hollant failed, the Assistant Chief over SANITATION and Code, Larry Juriga dug his heels in when he was appointed as “acting chief” when Gary Eugene went on medical leave.
The SANITATION Chief immediately pulled out all the stops to make sure the IA investigation would be wrapped up before the Chief returned so he could quickly fire the officer he falsely accused of lying in the first place.
But, let’s move on.
When Sergeant Reid was asked where Commander Hollant was located before Aledda shot Mr. Charles Kinsey (page 4, line 169), his response was, “Commander Hollant left. He just walked behind me. I don’t – I don’t know where he was going but he left … And then I lost track of him because I’m focusing on the targets and then I see Hollant come back with binoculars so, I’m like, great, now we can finally see what the hell is going on and shortly after that I heard the shots.”
Reid then testifies (page 5, line 203), “There’s a point where he’s saying, ‘It looks like he’s holding his gun.’ I think shortly after that is when he takes off I guess to go get the binoculars and then comes back with them.”
The statement by Reid that Hollant left his side to get his binoculars contradicts the false allegations made by Assistant Chief Larry Juriga (see page 19 of the Investigative Summary) that Commander Hollant claimed he was not present on the scene, when he clearly was. From the beginning, Hollant has never claimed he was not at the scene, nor has he wavered from his insistence that he did not witness the shooting because he had gone to his car to get his binoculars before Aledda fired his gun.
But, let’s move on.
When Roman asked him how long it took Hollant to return, Reid responds with “less than 30 seconds.“ (page 6, line 226)
According to Sergeant Roman’s “timing test” (see page 29 of the Investigative Summary), the absolute minimum amount of time that it would take Commander Hollant to “jog” to his car to retrieve his binoculars would have been 82.03 seconds.
Roman then asked him, “And again, if you know how soon after he arrived and he’s looking through the binoculars that these shots are fired?” (page 6, line 266)
Reid responded, “Like I said it was quick. It was less than 30 seconds. I don’t know the exact amount of time but it was relatively quick.”
Hmmm. It certainly appears that Reid didn’t understand this was a completely different question since he reiterated (“Like I said...”) that “it was less than 30 seconds.”
But, again, let’s move on.
When Roman question Reid where Hollant was when the shooting occurred (page 7, line 290), he responded with, “I couldn’t tell you because when the shooting happened my focus was on the subjects initially.”
Roman then asked a series of questions about his allegedly seeing Hollant with his binoculars before the shooting and whether or not Hollant said anything “after looking through these binoculars.” (page 8, line 322)
Reid responded with, “No, unfortunately.“
Reid responded with, “I don’t know but I’m assuming it’s a possibility.”
Roman continues the interview with a litany of questions about what happened after the shooting before jumping back to ask him about what Hollant said prior to his leaving to get his binoculars (page 11, line 491). “Did he say anything as a commanding officer leaving the scene?” Reid said, “No.” Reid also said he could not recall whether or not Hollant said anything before leaving to get his binoculars.
Roman then asked him, “And, of course, you don’t know what he saw but do you believe Commander Hollant actually witnessed the shooting itself?” (page 12, line 501)
Reid responded with, “Yeah, he was there. That’s right where I saw him looking so he should have seen it.”
By now, you’re probably wondering why Sergeant Milton Reid had absolutely no recollection of Commander Emile Hollant’s presence within hours and weeks after the shooting…
Yet, seven months later, Reid suddenly “remembered” seeing him …
With binoculars raised to his eyes…
While “assuming it’s a possibility,”…
That absolutely, positively, without a doubt…
Hollant “should have seen“ the shooting.
Well, Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! It’s a freaking miracle!
Sergeant Reid must have been touched by an Angel.
Um, Commander Angel Rivera, to be exact.
Who tried to coerce Commander Hollant to lie about his involvement in the shooting incident in order to protect his SWAT team member, Jonathan Aledda.
According to his statement to Sergeant Roman, Sergeant (now Commander) Rafael Estrugo testified that he heard Commander Rivera tell Hollant that he had information that “would have helped clear the officer,” to which Hollant responded that he wasn’t aware Rivera was in the “business of clearing the officer.” (page 18 of the Investigative Summary)
Even more curious indeed is the fact that Sergeant Reid was transferred to the Detective Bureau some time between the day of the shooting and the time he gave his sworn statement under oath to the NMPD Internal Affairs division.
The very same Detective Bureau within the investigative division overseen by Assistant Chief Larry Juriga before he was transferred to SANITATION and Code.
But, nah. Move along, folks. No reasonable doubt here.
Sergeant Reid might have a perfectly reasonable explanation why he never once mentioned Commander Hollant when he was interviewed by Detective Gaudio and State Attorney Ed Principe…
Then all but crucified him when questioned by Sergeant Diana Roman.
We’d all love to hear it.
And, while we’ll probably never get to the bottom of that mystery any time soon … at least until all of them are deposed during the lawsuits coming down the pike … there are still plenty of troubling unanswered questions.
Biscayne Times reporter Mark Sell asked: “Whether or not Hollant was railroaded, one question remains: What message does this send aspiring and current police officers, and those of us they are sworn to protect and serve?”
We here at VotersOpinion are asking: “If these corrupt high-ranking officers of the North Miami Police Department would go to such lengths in order to frame a fellow officer by falsely accusing him of wrongdoing, how far would they go to destroy ordinary civilians?“
NMPD kòmandan Hollant: Apwopriye pou Ankadre (MIZAJOU)
Kòm ineksplikab kòm tire ete pase a nan yon nonm ki san zam nwa pa Ofisye Polis North Miami Jonatan Aledda te, qui zafè entèn ankèt la nan kòmandan Emile Hollant se menm plis lide-mouche.
Pandan ke yo te tirè a soulaje nan devwa ak peye, kòmandan an te manti akize de kouche envestigatè sou patisipasyon li nan ensidan an, epi imedyatman sispann san peye. Pandan ke yo te peye Hollant nan evantyèlman retabli, li gen ankò yo te pèmèt pou li retounen nan devwa.
Pandan se tan, NMPD nan IA divizyon louvri ankèt ridikil li yo apre Asistan an Chèf Larry Juriga e kounye a, pran retrèt Gwo Trevor Shinn a te di Chèf Gary Eugene ki Hollant te deklare ke li pa t ‘menm nan sèn nan nan tire la. Yo te di tou ke Aledda te tire zam li sou lòd Hollant la.
Malgre ke tou de nan sa yo akizasyon yo te konplè fiksyon, yon fwa yo yo te fè yo mete an mouvman yon seri de evènman ki te depi detwi karyè yo ak renome akòz nan de ofisye lapolis dedye.
Pa fè okenn erè, li te tout pa konsepsyon.
Nèf mwa pita, lontan apre Depatman an Florida nan Law Enforcement ak Biwo Avoka Eta-a te jwenn ke kòmandan Hollant te fè pa gen anyen ki mal, NMPD nan zafè entèn Sèjan Diana Women prese vlope moute depatman an lachas sòsyè nan yon ankèt sou do l ‘.
Lè sa a, sou li a, 14 jen 2017, nwit lan la anvan Chèf Gary Eugene te pou li retounen nan travay, kòmandan Hollant te sèvi ak yon Avi sou entansyon mete fen ak Dwa a Pre-Detèminasyon Odyans.
Vin pi mal, yo te avi a ki te siyen pa ofisye nan anpil ki t ap eseye ankadreman l ‘nan plas an premye – Asistan an Chèf Larry Juriga.
Anpeche nenpòt entèvansyon diven … nan fòm lan nan lavil ofisyèl vini nan sans yo, kòmandan Hollant ap gen opòtinite pou defann tèt li kont akizasyon yo fos semèn pwochèn nan odyans pre-detèminasyon l ‘yo.
Bon chans ak sa.
Sou jou a anvan Hollant te sèvi, lavil la ki afiche sou sit entènèt la NMPD anba “Sal Medya” tab plizyè dokiman yo, ki gen ladan ankèt FDLE la ak deklarasyon sa yo fè sèman bay Biwo Avoka Eta a pa plizyè ofisye sou 13 fevriye, 2017.
Sou 14 jen, 2017, menm jou a Hollant te ke yo te sèvi, 72 plis atik, ki gen ladan yo plis pase 1,000 paj, yo te afiche sou polis depatman an nan “Portal transparans.” ofisyèl City te konnen plen byen li ta pran jou, petèt semèn, pou nenpòt moun ki yo revize tout nan yo – ak long apre odyans pre-detèminasyon kòmandan Hollant a ta pran plas li.
Sou 26 mwa jen, 2017, de nouvo dokiman yo te afiche: Memo nan North Konsèy Kominote Miami ki date 21 jen, 2017 ak Memo City Manadjè a Chèf Polis Gary Eugene ki gen dat, 15 jen 2017.
Toujou manke nan tout bagay sa a “transparans,” sepandan, te de dokiman kritik: rekòmandasyon an nan sipèvizè Hollant la dirèk, Gwo Timote Belcher, ak Memorandòm a soti nan Asistan an Chèf Neal Cuevas.
Erezman, ak anpil detounman an nan ofisyèl nan vil la, Chèf Polis Gary Eugene te deja bay nou ak moun dokiman, ki te afiche sou VotersOpinion sou 17 mwa jen, 2017.
Memo an Cuevas prezante yon gwo baraj pou konplo Grand Larry Juriga nan detwi lavi Emile Hollant a ak karyè kòm yon ofisye lapolis.
Paske tantativ l ‘yo jwenn Biwo Avoka Eta a nan pote akizasyon kriminèl kont kòmandan an te yon sezon echwe, sèl espwa Juriga a nan pote desann kòmandan Hollant te asire w ke zafè entèn Dispozisyon Panel a wè bagay wout li.
Jije pa wout la Larry Juriga te kapab trennen rezilta a nan ankèt la IA, gen se yon bagay ki ti kras dout li ta fè tout sa li te pran yo debarase m de Hollant.
Konsidere, pou egzanp, kat temwayaj yo separe nan zetwal zafè entèn Dispozisyon panèl la nan “temwen,” Sèjan Milton Reid.
Sou, 18 July 2016, jou a nan tire a, Sèjan Reid te fè antrevi pa Detectif Michael Gaudio sou ensidan an. Ou kapab tou li yon relve nòt nan sa a tout antye entèvyou kòmanse nan paj 19 nan atik 53 nan deklarasyon Sèjan Reid an.
Kòmanse nan paj 14, ou ka tou li yon relve nòt nan entèvyou Sèjan Reid an ak Pwokirè Eta Ed Prinsip sou li a, 1 Out 2016, egzakteman de semenn apre fiziyad la.
Peye fèmen atansyon sou de premye deklarasyon yo fè sèman li te bay imedyatman apre fiziyad la. Men sa nou li ak reli moun paj 21 nan temwayaj plizyè fwa, men nou pa t ‘wè non nan “kòmandan Hollant” sou okenn nan yo. Si li nan la, lè sa a nou te manke l ‘.
An reyalite, nan deklarasyon an li te bay Detectif Gaudio, èdtan sèlman apre tire a, Sèjan Reid temwaye ke li sèlman te wè Ofisye Aledda, Bernadeau ak Crespo, ak Sèjan Reyes imedyatman anvan, pandan ak apre li te tande kèk kout fe yo. Li pa janm yon fwa menm mansyone kòmandan Hollant.
Koulye a, konpare moun entèvyou a deklarasyon sa yo fè sèman li te bay sou sèman nan Pwokirè Eta Chèf Asistan Estè Jacobo sou 13 fevriye, 2017 ak NMPD zafè entèn Sèjan Diana Women sou Fevriye 15, 2017, pandan ki Reid tout nan yon toudenkou “vin chonje” wè kòmandan Emile Hollant pandan “ki tire.” (Paj 3, liy 122)
Li nan enteresan sonje isit la ke rezon ki fè la sèlman Biwo Avoka Eta a ankò kesyone NMPD ofisye sou Fevriye 13, 2017 te nan demann lan nan NMPD envestigatè lapolis pou bi pou sèl la ap eseye jwenn SAO a re-louvri ankèt premye li yo sou Hollant.
An reyalite, Asistan an Chèf Larry Juriga, kòmandan Angel Rivera ak Sèjan James Mesidor te tèlman entansyon sou kloure kòmandan Hollant pou yon trumped moute chaj oswa yon lòt, ki yon semèn apre fiziyad la sou 25 Jiyè, 2016, yo mande Chèf Gary Eugene pou pèmisyon pou bay deklarasyon nan Biwo Avoka Eta a. Li te di yo “NON!” ak kite FDLE nan “ranpli ankèt yo anvan yo chita pale yo avoka eta yo ba nenpòt moun.” (Gade nan paj 9 nan deklarasyon IA Chèf Eugene a)
Courageux, Juriga menm te gen chutzpah a absoli mande Chèf la si li ka gen avoka eta a ofri kòmandan an yon kontra yo vire nan sètifikasyon polis l ‘nan an echanj pou SAO a jete akizasyon sou do l’.
Chèf la te di l ‘ “NON!”
Lè Juriga kenbe ensiste ke li bezwen bay yon deklarasyon a Pwokirè Eta a, Chèf Eugene, FDLE ofisye Troy Walker, manadjè a vil la ak avoka vil la tout te di l ‘ “NON!”
Menm apre yo te di de fwa yo rete soti nan li epi kite FDLE nan fè travay li yo, Juriga pa t ‘kite l’ ale.
Sa trè menm mitan lannwit, li te rele chèf nan mande si li te oke pou l ‘, Rivera ak Mesidor bay yon deklarasyon a SAO a byen bonè nan denmen maten.
Yon fwa ankò, Chèf la te di l ‘ “NON!”
Menm apre yo te di “NON!” plizyè fwa, Larry Juriga kontinye konspire dèyè pòt ki fèmen yo ka resevwa SAO a ranpli akizasyon kriminèl kont kòmandan Hollant.
Kòm Biscayne Times repòtè Mak Vann note nan kolòn pibliye l ‘yè, (MIZAJOU: Atik kounye a afiche sou entènèt) yo ta Railroaded ?:
Sèjan. Diana Women an, ki moun ki te fè ankèt la zafè entèn, ak polis depatman konsiltan Adan chaj, ki te volan li, Lè sa a, te vizite Biwo Avoka Eta a sou Fevriye 27 ak lòt temwayaj soti nan Reid ak lòt moun, k ap chèche jwenn biwo a retire li 2 Out , 2016, deklarasyon ki di ke “kòmandan Hollant pa t ‘bay manti.”
Biwo Pwokirè a Eta a refize.
An reyalite, SAO la te refize demann yo, yo pa yon fwa, men de fwa. Premye sou 5 avril, 2017 via yon imèl ki soti nan Pwokirè Eta Chèf Asistan Jose J. Arrojo, epi ankò sou 14 avril, 2017 via imel soti nan Pwokirè Eta Asistan Howard Rosen.
Lè tout nan tantativ flagran l ‘yo Azazèl kòmandan Hollant echwe, Chèf la Asistan sou sanitasyon ak Postal, Larry Juriga fouye pinga’w l’ nan lè li te nonmen kòm “aji chèf” lè Gary Eugene te ale nan konje medikal.
Oswa yon bagay.
Chèf nan SANITASYON imedyatman rale soti tout arè yo asire w ke ankèt la IA ta dwe vlope moute anvan Chèf a tounen pou li te ka byen vit dife ofisye a li manti akize de kouche nan plas an premye.
Men, kite a deplase sou.
Lè Sèjan Reid te mande ki kote kòmandan Hollant te chita devan Aledda tire Mesye Charles Kinsey (paj 4, liy 169), repons l ‘te, “kòmandan Hollant kite Li te jis te mache dèyè do m’ mwen pa -.. Mwen pa konnen kote li te ale men li te kite … lè sa a mwen pèdi tras nan l ‘, paske mwen konsantre sou objektif yo ak lè sa a mwen wè Hollant tounen vini ak longvi konsa, mwen tankou, gwo, kounye a nou ka finalman wè sa ki nan lanfè k ap pase ak yon ti tan apre sa m ‘te tande vaksen yo. “
Reid Lè sa a, temwaye (paj 5, liy 203), “Genyen yon pwen kote li te di, ‘Li sanble ke li te kenbe zam li. Mwen panse ke yon ti tan apre sa ki lè li pran nan Mwen devine yo ale jwenn longvi yo ak Lè sa a vini tounen ak yo. “
Deklarasyon an pa Reid ki Hollant kite bò kote l ‘yo ka resevwa longvi l’ lekontrer akizasyon yo fo fèt pa Asistan an Chèf Larry Juriga (gade nan paj 19 nan Rezime an Investigative) ki kòmandan Hollant te deklare ke li pa t ‘prezan sou sèn nan, lè li te klèman te ye a. Depi nan konmansman an, Hollant pa janm te te deklare ke li pa t ‘nan sèn nan, ni te li vasiye soti nan ensistans l’ ke li pa t ‘temwen fiziyad la paske li te ale nan machin li yo ka resevwa longvi l’ devan Aledda te tire zam l ‘yo.
Men, kite a deplase sou.
Lè Women mande l ‘konbyen tan li te pran Hollant retounen, Reid reponn ak “mwens pase 30 segonn.” (Paj 6, liy 226)
Selon “tès distribisyon” Sèjan Women an (gade nan paj 29 nan Rezime an Investigative), kantite lajan a absoli minimòm de tan ke li ta pran kòmandan Hollant nan “Courier” nan machin l ‘yo rekipere longvi l’ ta gen 82,03 segonn.
Nou isit la nan VotersOpinion ap mande: “Si sa yo fin pouri ofisye wo-plase nan Depatman Lapolis North Miami ta ale nan longè sa yo nan lòd yo ankadreman yon ofisye parèy pa manti akize l ‘nan mechanste, ki jan lwen ta yo ale nan detwi sivil òdinè? “
Jis mande la a.