Miami Police Sergeant Suspended After Video Appears to Show Him Tossing Jewish Holy Book, Calling It ‘Crap’ and ‘Trash’

A video showing a Miami police sergeant tossing this Jewish prayer book has led to his suspension and an internal investigation.
via John Cunill

A police sergeant in Miami was suspended on Friday after a video emerged in which he could be seen tossing a Jewish holy book into the back of a pickup truck and calling it “crap.”

In the 12-second clip, which was reported on by WPLG-10, a local news station, the sergeant, who appeared to be recording himself, could be seen holding a Tanakh, a Jewish holy book, and a wooden box engraved with the Star of David.

“We don’t need this either, man,” the sergeant said, including an expletive as he tossed both items into the bed of a red pickup truck. “Taking out the trash, dog,” he said.

It was unclear when the video was filmed.

In a statement on Friday, the chief of the Miami Police Department called the video “disturbing” and said that the sergeant had been suspended and an internal affairs investigation was underway.

“The actions of this employee were found to be inconsistent with the mission and values of our department,” Chief Jorge R. Colina said. “I would like to reassure our citizens of all faiths that we stand in solidarity with them.”

In a statement on Friday, the Miami Fraternal Order of Police identified the sergeant as Roberto Destephan, its vice president. It said that the video was “heavily edited” and that “the motive here appears to be political blackmail.”

In the video, Sergeant Destephan appeared to be standing in the doorway of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Jacey Fortin