Mariantonia Mejia | Staff Writer
FIUPD crossed an ethical boundary with its newest hire, Yesid Ortiz.
Ortiz, a former city of Miami police officer, resigned in 2017 due to multiple scandals involving excessive force and the false imprisonment of a veteran as well as his alleged involvement with a pirate towing company according to reporting by Miami New Times.
Hiring someone with such a shady background shows how little respect the administration and FIUPD have for established procedures and rules.
He is also the father of FIUPD Chief Alex Casa’s step-children, as Casas is currently married to Ortiz’s ex-wife, Grisleem. This toes the line of the university’s nepotism clause, which states that “no employee should be under the direct or indirect supervision or control of a related individual …or other personal relationship in which objectivity might be impaired.”
Unsurprisingly, FIUPD has remained silent on the issue, only releasing a statement about the background checks done for every applicant. They even refused to answer the questions asked by a PantherNOW news reporter, only providing a short quote.
“I am an FIU alum, I’m an adjunct professor, and I’ve been the chief of police now for 12 years…” said Casas. “I hope that our community understands and believes when I tell them that there’s nothing I would ever do to put our community here in jeopardy.”
This response, or lack of one, is frankly inappropriate. It reads almost as an attempt to guilt students for being concerned, simply because he’s been at the university for so long, which would be quite manipulative if that is the intention.
It’s laughable to expect students worried about Ortiz to believe in a police department willing to break nepotism rules and hire someone capable of violence.
FIUPD’s role in our lives as students is one of protection, not one of friendship or family. There is a job that they were hired to do and they should do it without trying to bypass the rules. It’s frankly insulting that those who are meant to enforce campus policies are being paid despite bending them.
We cannot be expected to trust a department that has zero transparency in its hiring process and, when questioned, remain silent. Particularly because their silence is not a written policy or rule, it’s a practice — they’re actively choosing to keep students in the dark.
While we don’t know the reason behind their lack of a response, it’s suspicious to be against giving a simple answer to a few questions. If we aren’t able to rely on our police department to be open with us, there is no way we can feel safe under their watch.
FIU is a respectable university with great people and great opportunities. However, watching the administration disregard policy and student opinion damages the reputation of such an amazing school.
It becomes difficult to have faith in a university that disappoints students by hiring people who could put them in danger.
I don’t feel safe knowing that someone previously accused of using excessive force carries a gun on campus and is authorized to use it. And I definitely don’t feel secure knowing that if Ortiz were to break the rules, he would be more likely to get off scot-free because of his relationship with Chief Casas.
Use your voice and let the administration know that these practices are not okay. If we allow this decision to be swept under the rug, we do not know what line they will cross next.
The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.