A parking enforcement officer was arrested on allegations of extorting a valet company. He faces two counts for his behavior as an officer. The 57-year-old officer was taken into custody on Dec. 14, Saturday after the owner of APS Parking LLC told the police that the officer asked for cash payments for parking.
Dante Zirio, the accused, was arrested after the police caught him taking money from the valet owner in a video recording. He admitted to the extortion and said that Mr. Jones nightclub in Miami was another place where he took the payment from. He took the money in exchange for not imposing a parking violation ticket.
On Saturday a covert camera covered Zirio receiving a payment of $750, which led to his arrest. The police said that he faces two counts of charges, extortion, bribery and accepting an unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior.
20 years of service
The City manager Jimmy Morales wrote a mail to the mayor saying that the arrest was the right thing to do, and lamented the alleged actions by the officer. Zirio has been in the force for the past 20 years and the city spokesperson said that the pre-disciplinary hearing would take place the next day.
Information on his present jail status and bail were not available. The department believes that he worked alone but there was a decision taken to launch an internal investigation. "We will not tolerate any act of bribery or public corruption in the City of Miami Beach," Morales told Miami Herald.
Second degree felony in Florida
Extortion, committed with or without a weapon or with or without the use of force, is a Second Degree Felony in Florida and is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine. Extortion is assigned a Level 6 offense in terms of severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.