- Faith & Family
Miami Times staff report
The City of Miami Police Department continues to be rocked with scandal — the most recent example being last week’s arrest of a veteran officer, Nathaniel Dauphin, accused of extortion. Just a few day earlier, a narcotics sergeant was convicted of corruption in a federal trial. More arrests and investigations are expected as part of the Justice Department’s ongoing probe into a series of fatal police-involved shootings.
Police Chief Manuel Orosa, who took over 13 months ago, says he wants to get dirty cops out of his department adding, “We are doing everything we can to ensure our officers are doing the right thing.” Part of that cooperation is between his department’s Internal Affairs Unit and the FBI in their collective efforts to dismantle a gang of 10 officers suspected of providing protection to a Liberty City gambling ring and other crimes
Dauphin, 41, is the first of the 10 officers arrested. He allegedly organized an under-the-table protection squad for an illegal sports-betting ring that operated out of the Player’s Choice Barber Shop [6301 NW Sixth Avenue] in Liberty City.
Dauphin was instructed by FBI agents to call and meet with another officer, Harold James, in early April. He paid James, 29, for providing “protection coverage” at the betting operation, according to court documents. In a statement filed with his plea agreement, James admitted to being paid to provide protection for another Liberty City business — a check cashing store located at NW 79th Street and 7th Avenue.
James, who continues to cooperate with federal officers, was an eight-year veteran that resigned last November, recently pleaded guilty to extortion and now faces up to two years in prison. Dauphin, an officer since 1996, first pleaded not guilty to one charge of extortion conspiracy. However, he is expected to change his plea to guilty as part of a cooperation deal.
Miami’s Internal Affairs has been working with the FBI’s task force since 2009. Of the nine Miami police officers arrested since 2010, seven have been nabbed by the FBI’s team. Orosa contends that the recent string of arrests does not indicate that the department faces a problem with corruption, as those arrested make up only a fraction of the 1,100-member force.
The FBI is expected to make more arrests in the coming weeks.