After Miami Beach police Detective Reinaldo Casas tested positive for cocaine, he insisted that the drug had been unwittingly absorbed into his blood through an erection-enhancing cream he applied to his genitals. His defence worked. An arbitrator this week ordered Casas, who was fired last year because of the positive drug test, be reinstated with complete back pay.
“There is no evidence in the record to show that [Casas] was aware the cream contained a controlled substance,” according to the arbitrator’s report, which was released on Thursday.
By law, Miami Beach police must comply with the ruling. The decision caps an embarrassing saga for Casas, who was a respected homicide investigator when he was fired in February 2013. Casas had failed a random drug test administered by the police department.
“Having never knowingly used cocaine, I was baffled, perplexed and confused,” Casas wrote in his grievance. At a grievance hearing, Casas testified that a friend, Idilio Godinez, gave him the cream “with the advice that it would help him in his sexual liaisons.”
Godinez testified that he got the sex-enhancement cream from “an old Cuban guy” as a gift for giving him some political campaign signs. Godinez claimed he did not know what was in the cream, but had tried it himself and it worked.
The substance, which resembled Vaseline, was contained in a series of unmarked containers and appeared to be homemade.
The city insisted that Casas’ story was “incredible” and he should have known what he was applying to his body. The arbitrator disagreed and ordered Casas returned to duty with back pay. His salary is $74,745.84 a year.
Eugene Gibbons, a lawyer for the Miami Beach police union, said the arbitrator “rightfully concluded” in Casas’ favour.
“Detective Casas is looking forward to resuming his distinguished law-enforcement career with the Miami Beach Police Department in the homicide unit and putting this unfortunate situation behind him,” Gibbons said.