Fight! Ex Hialeah Mayor & Carlos Hernandez’s goon face off
Former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez was having breakfast at Maruch with a reporter Thursday when the current mayor’s “enforcer,” Glenn “The Goon” Rice, burst in on them with a cellphone video camera and began his usual insane berating and assault.
Glenn "The Goon" Rice typically uses his camera phone to try to intimidate critics of his boss, Mayor Carlos Hernandez
Martinez being who he is, not used to being pushed around, got up to confront Glenn — who makes a habit of harassing any critic of Hialeah Mayor Carlos “Castro” Hernandez — and a witness told Ladra that a fight almost broke out. In fact, someone called 911 to get the police out there.
I haven’t been able to get the report. But I was told that even after Martinez left, there were tons of officers there, including SWAT team guys. I was also told that the ex mayor refused to give a statement and told the top cop there — who was Commander Oscar Amago, of course — that if he wanted to, he could contact his attorney. I haven’t spoken to Francisco Alvarado, the New Times Reporter who was there talking with Martinez, because he is dodging me. But I spoke to Martinez and Hialeah Fire Union Vice President Eric Johnson, who practically lives at Maruch and was sitting at another table in the hidden, little VIP wing to the east. He was the one who called 911. I also spoke to someone who saw the video.
Martinez would only tell Ladra that he “will not be intimidated by Carlos Hernandez and his goons.” Yes, I am sorta flattered that he stole that name from me. The ex mayor, who has been pulling public records like a bulldog and becoming a bigger thorn in the mayor’s side than ever, told me to watch Pedro Sevcec’s show on Monday to hear his version of the story. They must have some sort of deal or something. He always gives Pedro the scoop.
I hope Martinez sues the city. Someone has to.
By everyone’s account, Rice, a former (read: disgraced) police officer was his usual vulgar and offensive self, calling Martinez fat, which is a standard for him. Martinez just standing up from his seat, with his giant frame and his famous scowl, scared the piss out of him. He may have grabbed the camera, which he probably shouldn’t have done. But everyone says the former mayor was calm and collected and just asked Rice to leave them alone. Fat chance of that. Rice left and returned.
Rice is used to being a bully. It’s sort of his job. And it’s not just a case of simple assault. Because he works for the mayor. And his harassment comes at the behest of his boss.
Speaking on behalf of Glenn Rice, Sasha Tirador, the mayor's mouthpiece
In fact, Hernandez’s campaign manager, Absentee Ballot Queen Sasha Tirador, is speaking on behalf of Rice, telling El Nuevo Herald’s Enrique Flor that Hernandez has nothing to do with this. Riiiiight. That’s why she’s there, huh? Duh. Word on the street is that Rice was told to lay low after he accosted Santana at the candidate’s home a couple of months ago. But he’s been called back to duty recently since Martinez has been hammering on Hernandez every chance he gets.
Tirador also has the nerve to tell Flor that Rice has every right to go and record Martinez’s private breakfast because he was a public official just as he had defended my right to record Hernandez on election night at Flanigan’s with his main goon and a couple of others. Which is an absurd comparison. Because I record my interaction with a publicly elected official in my capacity as a journalist and government watchdog, whether impartial or not, whether they like it or not. I do not harass and intimidate and Rice’s only intent is to provoke something and silence critics.
And he point is he is not doing it for his health. He’s not doing it for kicks… well, wait, he does get a kick out of it. But he’s doing it on behalf of Hernandez.
And he’s been doing this for years.
Ladra has written right here about how Rice hounded city employees and even this watchdog at JFK during early voting in 2011 taking pictures and videos and taunting people. He is a menace in and of himself, make no doubt about it. But he is not flying solo here. I am certain that if authorities got his phone records and the mayor’s phone records, there would be evidence that The Goon is acting in his full capacity as the mayor’s enforcer and bodyguard.
But what authorities? Every time someone goes to the FDLE with a possible violation of the law or someone’s rights — as they did last week when police detained a group of activists and a journalist seeking public records — agents say that the complaint has to go to Hialeah Police. Are they kidding me?
This week, someone at the state attorney’s office challenged me to provide proof that the Hialeah Police Department was not being used by the mayor inappropriately. We were talking about the illegal maquinitas that cover the city — all 2,269 of them — even after a state law prohibits their use. But Rice is just another example of the mayor gets what the mayor wants. The police harassment and intimidation of fellow blogger Carlos Miller and Joel Chandler, who is going around documenting cities that violate the Florida public records laws and suing them (gotta love this guy), is another example. (More on that later)
And what does the mayor want? Hands off.
And is providing evidence my job or the authorities’? I believer there are quite a sufficient number of documented incidents to begin an inquiry. Here. On other blogs. On video, as in this harassment of Juan Santana, a longshot challenger to the mayor that the Goon nonetheless feels the need to berate and harass. As in when Glenn Rice responded to aid boletera Emelina Llanes, who got caught red handed picking up ballots, ostensibly for the mayor. Why didn’t anybody ever subpoena the phone records from that day? Ladra can’t do that. If there is suspicion, are the authorities not supposed to look into it? Oh, right, Hialeah Police. Which has illegally followed people, illegally trespassed me, illegally and physically removed me from a public event — and that was before the mayor named a sergeant as chief for some reason. Now they are called upon to investigate when people go to City Hall to request a public record that should be rather easy to produce. Not some old, vague water plant study, mind you. They requested the last payment made to the Florida League of Cities. Should be at their fingertips.
Dudes! Really? Do we bloggers need to do all the work for ya? Because if you wanted to, the witnesses are there. Reliable witnesses, like other members of the media and city employees or residents who attend council meetings where they are regularly disrespected at best, intimidated at worst.
Glenn Rice is a menace, un fosforito that is a possible danger to the community. But he’s not the real bad guy here. The bad guy is his boss: an elected official who uses the police and his private enforcer to intimidate and harass critics.
If that is not abuse of power, I don’t know what is.