Miami police chief Miguel Exposito is the subject of growing speculation about his job security, after a first year that included four fatal shootings by officers, a videotape of police punching a man while he’s pinned down, a botched attempt to control an unruly crowd, and anti-corruption investigations that fizzled, reports the Miami Herald. “It’s all on Exposito,” Mayor Tomás Regalado said about the problems on the chief’s watch.
Eight months ago, Regalado stood side by side with the chief to announce the end of a “culture of corruption” in Miami. Now the two are not quite so harmonious. The chief’s second in command, Luis Cabrera, was moved to the office of City Manager Carlos Migoya, who has the power to fire Exposito for cause. Cabrera, it is widely believed, was the favored candidate of Regalado when the job of chief opened up last year. Regalado, who said he’s waiting for the FBI’s crime statistics to come out early next year before deciding whether to recommend a new chief, added: “There is a problem with chain of command and there is a problem with transparency.” He said he had an issue with the number of officers on the street. The city manager acknowledged there are about 30 fewer officers deployed now than this time last year. But he said that was a result of uncertainty stemming from the city’s agonizing budget process in September. Exposito, who would respond to questions only in writing, defended his work, highlighting hundreds of firearms taken off the street and a $4 million budget cut, mostly through avoiding overtime. Exposito, 56, was sworn in Nov. 24, 2009. Even before being elected, Regalado targeted the previous chief, John Timoney, siding with the powerful police union that asserted morale was low.