A Miami police officer was suspended Friday, after a video emerged in which he can be seen throwing a Tanakh, a Jewish holy book, into the bed of a truck before calling it "crap."
WPLG-10, the local news station who reported the incident, broadcasted the video in which sergeant Roberto Destephan is shown throwing a Tanakh into a trash-filled truck. It's unclear when the video was taken, however, in the clip, Destephan can be heard saying, “We don’t need this either, man,” before throwing a wooden box with a Star of David engraving into the cluttered vehicle. He then ends the video with an antisemitic signoff, “Taking out the trash, dog.”
Miami Police Department Chief Jorge R. Colina told reporters that he finds the video “disturbing,” and “anti-Semitic.” Colina also explained that Destephan had been suspended and an internal investigation was underway. “The actions of this employee were found to be inconsistent with the mission and values of our department,” Colina said. “I would like to reassure our citizens of all faiths that we stand in solidarity with them.”
The Miami Fraternal Order of Police, the local police union, to which Destephan is a member and the vice president, defended the sergeants' actions, alleging that the video had been doctored. “While Roberto was discarding the items into the back of a pickup truck to go to the dump, a portion of his conversation was recorded,” the statement said. “The video that has been released has been edited and doesn’t capture the full and entire conversation.”
In September, Miami police officers were under heightened scrutiny when police chief Raimundo Atesiano was sentenced to three years in prison for directing his department to frame innocent black men for crimes they didn't commit.