Miami’s second-highest ranked Black female police officer, is seeking whistleblower status and intends to file a civil rights lawsuit.
Keandra Simmons, a 16-year veteran of the evidence room, who commanded Liberty City as one of the city’s first Black female public information officers. She was, along with three others were being demoted by Chief Art Acevedo who was hiring a new deputy who had worked for him previously in Houston.
Acevedo made the changes after speaking with every staff officer and members of the community, as Simmons, was rolled back to a lieutenant in field operations and had her salary slashed. Simmons’ attorney Michael Pizzi filed complaints with the city and notified the mayor, city attorney and city manager that she was seeking whistleblower protections.
“based on injuries sustained from defamation, racial and gender based discrimination, harassment, deprivation of First Amendment and due process right.” Pizzi said.
Simmons believes she was demoted for statements made as a witness when she was interviewed about the firing of Deputy Chief Ron Papier and his wife, Cmdr. Nerly Papier.
“He’s punishing her for the way she participated in an investigation,” Pizzi said “It's slap in the face to the Black community in particular all Miami residents.”
Filing for Whistleblower status serves two purposes: It informs the city of a potential future lawsuit - a requirement that gives the city a chance to correct an alleged wrong - and it is supposed to protect Simmons from any retaliation.