Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez is dropping out of the sheriff’s race two months after he tried to kill himself.
Ramirez was running as a Democrat to basically keep his top-cop job after voters in 2021 amended the Florida Constitution to mandate the head of the police department to be an partisan elected position and not one appointed by the mayor.
Ramirez was the clear front runner for the job after not only overseeing one of the largest police departments in the Southeast but also the fire department and emergency services. He was appointed by Mayor Daniella Levine Cava to the position of police director in 2020.
Now that it’s official that he is dropping out, the race for sheriff is wide open with several candidates. It will be one of most powerful posts in Miami-Dade County,
“I appreciate the community’s well wishes and support over the past few months and will remain focused over the coming weeks on my continued recovery,” Ramirez said in a statement.
Ramirez said he planned on “working with the mayor and stakeholders on a successful and smooth transition.”
His senior political advisor, Christian Ulvert, added, “While he will no longer be a candidate for sheriff, I know his commitment to our community’s well-being and safety is stronger than ever.”
Ramirez shot himself with his service revolver on July 24 on the side of Interstate 75 near Apollo Beach while traveling with his wife. The couple had been seen arguing at the Marriott Water Street hotel, according to police reports.
Ramirez was in Tampa attending the 2023 Florida Sheriffs Association summer conference.
The hotel made a call to police that a guest had witnessed Ramirez threatening himself with a gun. Dozens of Tampa police responded and briefly took Ramirez in custody, handcuffing him. The couple left the hotel and Levine Cava said Ramirez called her from the road, offering his resignation.
It was after the phone call to the mayor that Ramirez shot himself. The bullet exited through one eye and Ramirez survived. The family later released a statement that Jody Ramirez had grabbed her husband’s arm just as he pulled the trigger, saving his life.
A few weeks later, Jody Ramirez released a statement rejecting the report of a domestic dispute between the couple and that her husband ever brandished a weapon outside the hotel. The statement was at odds with the Tampa police reports.
Ramirez had collected more than $82,000 in political donations for his campaign. Now the focus will shift to eight other candidates vying to run a department with 3,000 officers.
Five Republicans have announced: Mario Knapp, a retired county police officer; Raumen de la Rua, a Miami police officer; and Alexander Fornet, who runs a credit repair company. Orlando J. Lopez and Jaspen Bishop have also filed but no public information was available on their candidacy.
On the Democratic side, there is Rickey Mitchell, a retired Miami Dade police officer and two new candidates who announced this week: John Barrow, a 17-year veteran of the Miami-Dade police department, and former federal agent Susan Khoury.