Police Union, Lax Oversight Allow Florida Cop To Survive Three Arrests And Seven Firings
from the when-you-think-'The-Shield'-is-something-to-aspire-to dept
How do you respond if you’ve just been notified you lead the state in discipline cases? Well, if you’re Sergeant German Bosque of the Opa-Locka (FL) police department, you take perverse pride in your inability to be a good cop.
“I can’t believe that,” he said. “I’m not trying to smile. I just … damn!”
That was in 2011, when Sgt. Bosque wasn’t seen as quite as terrible as he is now. At that point, the officer who seemed to see himself as the second coming of Vic Mackey only had five firings (and three arrests) to his name.
Accusations of misconduct have piled up against this officer. The Herald-Tribune found 40 internal affairs cases involving Bosque, including multiple excessive force claims. Those reports found that Bosque head butted a man, splitting his lip open. Or that he cracked open another man’s head with a leg sweep. Or the time he smacked a juvenile detainee. On top of that they note that he’s been caught defying orders, lying to supervisors, and falsifying paperwork. His off-duty life seems just as horrifying, with Bosque facing multiple accusations from women alleging domestic violence and stalking.
He was apparently bounced out of the police academy twice and still somehow managed to become an officer. One of his early exits was prompted by his arrest on charges of stealing a car and impersonating an officer. I guess the Opa-Locka PD figured it was better to have him become an actual police officer, rather than allow him to roam the city pretending to be one.
Since his hiring in 1998, Bosque has been accused of engaging in pursuits in violations of direct orders, something he apparently tried to cover up by making an “anonymous” 911 call from his personal phone after the suspect crashed into a tree. He also was accused of falsifying his report to cover up his continued pursuit of the suspect.
Following a string of incidents that finally led to his suspension in 2008, Bosque’s vehicle was inspected by officers who found an empty vodka bottle, cocaine, and crack pipes. They also found a bunch of IDs Bosque had apparently unlawfully seized.
That led to one of Bosque’s firing. But the police union got him his job back, and the state’s law enforcement commission took no action to strip him of his certification despite — as the 2011 investigation by the Herald-Tribune notes — Bosque’s police record more closely resembled a rap sheet.
German Bosque, the Opa-locka police sergeant who became notorious for repeatedly getting fired and getting his job back, has been canned yet again.
“I’ve lost count. I don’t know if it was the seventh or eighth time,” Bosque said when reached on Wednesday evening. “It’s a wrongful termination. Again, I’ll be getting my job back again.”
It’s Bosque’s seventh firing. His latest involves more claims of lies and shady behavior. It also involves what appears to be some incredible incompetence by officers handling criminal evidence.
It stems from a shooting that happened back in October, when a gun believed used in the incident was discovered under a boat in someone’s back yard in Opa-locka. Officer Luis Serrano was assigned to watch the gun until Miami-Dade detectives got there to process the scene. But Serrano left to go to his police car briefly — and someone on the street took the gun and replaced it with a toy pellet gun.
Sgt. Bosque arrived on the scene and began mentoring Officer Serrano as only Bosque could. The body cam recording caught Bosque telling Serrano to make up a story about why he left the gun unattended.
“What do we tell them you get to get in the car?” he asks, according to body-camera footage. When Serrano repeated that he’d gone to the car to look [for] some paperwork, Bosque said “No. No. Something else, anything else … you thought it was going to rain and you came to get a tarp.”
For all the cops who complain the “system” allows criminals to get off on “technicalities” (the nickname cops give Constitutional rights), they seem to lack the self-awareness to recognize they have their own set of technicalities that frequently allow them to escape punishment for their actions. And here it is, via Andrew Axelrad, Bosque’s police union attorney.
“The idea that the department is going to terminate him for this is truly unbelievable … I have very little doubt that he will be reinstated,” Axelrad said. “”This is more a function of his reputation.”
That seems about right. Bosque’s reputation is garbage and has been for a couple of decades. The only thing slightly surprising about this is that he actually was fired. If history is any indication, Bosque will be back on the streets before too long.
And Bosque’s own lack of self-awareness is pretty notable.
“It’s sad because I love policing,” he said. “I don’t like corrupt cops. I hate when I’m portrayed as a dirty cop who slipped through the cracks.”
But that’s exactly what Bosque appears to be: a dirty cop who slips through the wide crevasses his union and his supposed oversight create for him. No matter how much the PD and the city want him gone, they can’t seem to get rid of him.
Then there’s the question of how much the PD actually wants him gone. Sure, it’s been forced to reinstate him thanks to the union’s continuous intervention, but if it really wanted Bosque gone, it could have made it happen. Years of indifference by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement — which has continually refused to strip Bosque of his certification — has turned a bad hire into permanent Opa-Locka urban blight.
Then there’s the officers he works with. Some, if not most, must be ok with Bosque’s behavior. No officer has stepped forward to offer their commentary on his actions. And it appears some officers take pride in being bad. Law enforcement has cultivated an us vs. them attitude that takes all the wrong messages from pop culture icons like Dirty Harry and The Punisher and applies them to their daily work. Everyone who isn’t a cop is an enemy in a war zone. Busting heads and breaking rules is perceived to be the most efficient way to enforce the law. Violence is encouraged in training and rewarded with wrist slaps, reinstatements, and shit tons of exonerative reports and public statements.
Bosque is a symptom of the disease. And he didn’t make it in the law enforcement business for 28 years without the help of those around him. Most of us can go 28 years without being arrested or fired once. A public servant entrusted with this much power shouldn’t be tolerated for this long ever.