A Miami police officer who has been accused of racist behaviour in the past is now claiming that he considers himself to be a black man.
But a union representing black officers has pointed out that Ortez decided to check a box identifying himself as black while applying for a promotion.
In November, the Miami Community Police Benevolent Association claimed that the officer was not only trying to protect himself but also make a mockery of initiatives to hire more black officers.
During a meeting last week of the Miami City Commission, the city’s legislative body, the union told officials that several black officers in the Miami Police Department found Ortiz’s new found black identity offensive.
It also accused the police department of enabling racism and discrimination.
However addressing these concerns Ortiz told the Commission: “I’m a Black male. Yes, I am. And I am not Hispanic. I was born in this country. That’s how I feel.”
When asked to elaborate and explain what he meant Ortiz made reference to the “one-drop rule”, a social and legal principle of racial classification that was historically prominent in the United States in the early part of the 20th Century.
He also said that there were people in his family who were black.
Ortiz said: “And if you know anything about the one-drop rule, which started in the 20th Century…..which is what identifies and defines what a black male is, or a Negro, you would know that if you have one drop of black in you, you’re considered black.”
The Post reported that Ortiz has been the subject of several complaints for what appeared to be racially biased viewpoints.
The paper said he “has also drawn heat for defending police involved in controversial shootings and insulting black boys and men killed by police.”
A video of Ortiz claiming to be black has gone viral.
Responding to the video the Miami-Dade chapter of the NAACP posted a message on Instagram expressing anger.
The post said: “This is a video of an active City of Miami cop at a commission meeting where the topic of discussion is on Racial Equity within the police department. His comments are disturbing. And in the manner of how he used them, downright disturbing to say the least.”
However, Ortiz tweeted that people are making more out of his comments than was necessary.
He said: “This isn’t news. People love making stereotypes. It’s actually refreshing to be who you are, like an American.”