Entire SWAT Team Resigns After Florida Police Chief Sides with Anti-Cop Protesters
Hallandale Beach Police Department's ten-members team quits over safety concerns
An entire south Florida SWAT team has resigned, citing the actions of the police department's chief, who sided with anti-cop protesters to "take a knee" last week.
Police Chief Sonia Quinones joined protesters calling for an investigation into a 2014 raid in which a black man was fatally shot.
The ten-person team handed over an angry letter of resignation to the Hallandale Beach's Chief Sonia Quinones, saying they no longer feel safe.
The letter also took aim at Vice Mayor Sabrina Javellana, a self-declared "progressive activist," who made several false and inflammatory claims about the HBPD cops, including comparing them to the Minneapolis Police Department that killed George Floyd.
In their letter, the SWAT team cites safety concerns over a lack of equipment, claiming that the "disdain" of local officials meant the safety of police dogs was taken more seriously than that of the unit.
The two sergeants and eight officers resigned from the team but not from the Hallandale Beach Police Department.
The letter of resignation from the SWAT team was delivered to city officials on Friday, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
“The risk of carrying out our duties is no longer acceptable to us and our families," the officers wrote.
The team added that the unit felt it was “minimally equipped, under-trained, and often times restrained by the politicization of our tactics.”
The officers said they took exception to the comments and actions of Javellana at a recent protest, who took a knee with other demonstrators and raised a 2014 shooting incident by the SWAT team that left an unarmed black man dead.
The city's police chief joined in kneeling.
A review found the shooting justified and the victim's family was awarded a little more than $400,000 in a settlement, according to John Solomon.
"The Vice Mayor Sabrina Javellana has made openly ignorant and inaccurate statements attacking the lawful actions of the city's officers and SWAT team both from the dais and form her social media accounts," the unit said.
Javellana "has actively protested against us" and “shown that she takes pleasure in besmirching the hard work and dedication of the members of this professional agency, having the gall to compare us to the Minneapolis Police Department," the SWAT officers said.
They felt the chief's decision to join Javellana in kneeling at the recent protest was an endorsement of her criticisms of the SWAT team, the letter notes.
Javellana defended her actions, saying “we have our own George Floyds and Breonna Taylors in our own city that we must address before we can heal and reform.”
Officials said they would rely on neighboring police SWAT teams until the matter is resolved.
The city's police chief is set to meet with the officers' union on Monday to discuss the resignations, according to the mayor.
“I will be following up with our chief of police, following up with our unions and, most importantly, ensuring that our accredited department has the resources and the training that they need to protect and serve our public,” Mayor Joy Cooper told the newspaper.