Get Your Hands Up! Seriously!

It’s common knowledge that Florida is a cesspool of vicious indicted and unindicted felons, awash in fraudsters, predators of every stripe and kind, and people no one would want in their communities.  Big agriculture’s business plan hinges on its employment of illegal aliens treated as virtual slaves.  (Their puerile argument is always the same, essentially–”Do ya wanna pay $20 for a head of lettuce?” despite the fact that labor costs are only a small fraction of the cost of produce.)  Real estate fraud is considered an honorable profession, although the state universities are not yet offering degrees–but just wait.  Eventually, they will.  The university system is overseen by a real heavyweight scholar, a guy whose sole formal post-secondary education is a Bachelor’s degree and whose highest level of employment in the functional educational field was as a high school principle in Martin County.  What qualified (relative term) him for such an august post as head of the university system?  He’s got great hair and used to be Jeb Bush’s Lt. Governor, a post for which he was possibly chosen because of the referenced great hair and willingness to bend over for anyone with the political clout to advance his career.

The Bush family is the gift to the nation that keeps on taking away–our civil liberties, our quality of life, and our economic stability.  Poppy et fils would seemingly peddle their sorry butts to anyone who’d hand them political power in exchange for being front men for some really awful people.  (This is just a U.S. citizen and Florida native’s opinion–they’ve never been convicted of any crimes.)  Those vile people are just garden variety scoundrels compared to some of the scum we have wandering around in Florida.  (Poppy’s mom, Jeb and Dubya’s grandmother, lived on Jupiter Island in Martin County for many years.)  So why pick on poor Jeb?  An incredibly scary series of articles in the Sarasota Herald Tribune has highlighted–relative term, lowlighted would be more apropos–some of the most vicious, unethical, violent, untruthful and downright dangerous people in our midst–rogue cops.  And it’s Jeb, according to the articles, who is behind the degradation of a now-laughably named law enforcement butt boy board, the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission (CJSTC), which is the public body tasked with setting law enforcement standards and reviewing the cases of law enforcement personnel who have serious complaints lodged against them.  Rogue cops, even those which hapless and aghast law enforcement agencies fire for cause, are above the law in my fine state.  The CJSTC is the board which has the power to revoke or reinstate law enforcement officers’ certificates, which are required in order for them to hold their positions.

The investigative series in the Herald Tribune, authored by Matthew Doig and Anthony Cormier, is a shocking exposè that I think may well result in that pair being prosecuted with a stray bullet in the not-distant future.  Their excellent and well researched series “Unfit For Duty; Special Report, Florida’s flawed system for policing the police” can be found in the newspaper’s online version at and focuses on how the CJSTC was co-opted by none other than Jeb Bush, in return, it would seem, for political endorsements by the powerful law enforcement unions.  Charlie Crist, the succeeding governor “who was also endorsed by the law enforcement unions, violated a state law preventing more than one person from an agency from serving on the commission.  Crist’s appointments put two representatives each from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Tallahassee Police Department and Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office — three strong union agencies,” on the board.

The CJSTC was originally a body which took its role seriously, was hard on rogue cops, and un-hesitant in revoking their certificates for serious infractions.   Then Jeb came along and, seemingly, in return for political endorsements, gutted the ability, or at least willingness, of this board to do both its job and the right thing and purge law enforcement ranks of unfit officers.

This spell-binding tale documents how the board was gradually revised to favor rogue cops who are union members.  Apparently the only sure way a union member law enforcement officer can have his or her certificate revoked now is by being sent to prison.  The litany of offenses for which they have been forgiven includes sexual offenses (there were instances of unlawful sexual activity with minors among other misdeeds) false statements, perjury, domestic violence, cruelty to a child, drugs, aggravated assault, fraud, smuggling contraband–everything except murder.  And there’s no guarantee that’s not among the misdeeds because according to the series, law enforcement agencies cover up misdeeds by personnel with some regularity.  One of my home town’s representatives on the board is a Bush appointee who was disciplined for cheating on an exam which enabled a promotion and pay raise.  This paragon of honesty is still on the board today.

The first article in the eye-popping series regaled readers with the criminal exploits of a still-on-duty cop, who got a law enforcement job despite having been expelled from two police academies, one for stealing a car and impersonating an officers.  This cop has had “40 internal affairs cases…Sixteen of them were for battery or excessive force” and been fired five times.  In one sorry instance “the agency found a counterfeit $20 bill, cocaine and crack pipes in his patrol car”.  This Cuban immigrant’s success story is a matter of real pride for him.  The article about him states that his “personnel file looks more like a rap sheet than a résumé”.   And, “…he leads the state in disciplinary cases. He says he is respectful to civilians, but there are times he has to be “tough to earn respect.”

And what was this poster boy for rogue copdom’s response when interviewed and informed that he was the most disciplined law enforcement officer in the state?  Abashment?  Humility?  Repentance?  Nope.  According to the article about him, “During an August interview,…(he) lit up with excitement when he heard that he led the state in discipline cases”.

“I can’t believe that,” he said. “I’m not trying to smile. I just … damn!”

So to any of you who are thinking of visiting, moving to this rathole of a state, or starting a business here, my advice, should you be accosted for any reason by a law enforcement officer?  Pray.  Hope that it’s one of the 90% – 95% who genuinely deserve the appellation “law enforcement officer”.  Because if it’s not one of that vast majority, and the officer confronting you is a member of a law enforcement union in Florida, you’re in big trouble.  They can do anything to you they want and probably remain on duty, or be reinstated should there be any disciplinary kerfluffle.

FBI are you reading the Herald Trib?  I’d say it’s laughable but really, it’s cryable.  Floriduh–we do corruption right!  It’s the place where those in charge don’t even realize it’s against the law to break the law.  Even the people responsible for ensuring law enforcement standards think that way.  Herald Tribune, I hope you’re paying for bodyguards and bullet proof vests for your two brave reporters.  If these articles are any measure, they’re gonna need ‘em.

What would Jesus say?   Probably the same thing an FDLE employee did when shown the top rogue cop’s rap sheet, uh, personnel record.  “Holy sh–.”


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