A newly formed Miami police corruption squad is facing escalating criticism for mixing politics and police work — including a highly unusual rebuke from federal prosecutors, reports the Miami Herald. Created under the administration of Mayor Tomás Regalado and Police Chief Miguel Exposito, the unit has investigated officials hired under the former administration and drawn intense fire for publicizing arrests that usually don’t make headlines.
Last week, the U.S. attorney’s office sent an e-mail blasting Miami police and the mayor’s office for the political nature of a news conference announcing the arrests of eight people — including three city cops — and the firings of city department directors. An adviser to the U.S. attorney said she never would have allowed a representative of the FBI to attend had she known it would have taken such a political bent. “When this Office, or the FBI, start participating in local politically motivated events, or events that can be perceived as political, then we run the risk of losing credibility and the perception of independence,” she wrote to Exposito and the FBI. Regalado said the squad is not politically motivated, and is committed to rooting out corruption and operating independently. “We wanted to send a message about public corruption, and the message was very clear,” he said.