Miami police sergeant fired over video showing him throwing sacred Jewish text


(JTA) — A Miami police sergeant was fired over a video showing him throwing a wooden box engraved with a Star of David and a copy of the Tanach in the back of a pickup truck calling them trash.

Sgt. Roberto Destephan, a 13-year veteran of the force, had been suspended for the last two months over the cellphone video. He was fired on Thursday, the Miami Herald reported.

“We don’t need this s— either, man. This crap? F— this. Takin’ out the trash, dog,” Destephan says on the video after turning the camera on his face. Destephan also had served as the vice president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police when the video surfaced.

Destephan and supporters say police officers were clearing out old, moldy items from the office and that the cellphone video had been heavily edited.  He said it was being used to prevent him from running in an upcoming union election. The office reportedly was located in a former Jewish funeral home and the items belonged to the previous owners.

Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina told the newspaper that he was concerned about the officer’s character and credibility coming into question if he has to testify in court over an arrest.  “It isn’t just what he said, but what are the consequences of that. Do we lose the public’s trust?” Colina said.

Destephan has 15 days to appeal his firing.

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