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Miami Commission Candidate Keeps Posing With Bizarre Racist Puppet

Miami Commission Candidate Keeps Posing With Bizarre Racist Puppet

Frank Pichel is a former City of Miami police officer who was once implicated in an in-custody death coverup and was at one point arrested for illegally selling steroids and Cialis while working for the city. Now he’s trying to reenter politics with a run for Miami City Commission District 1.

He’s also, apparently, been bringing an utterly bizarre and clearly racist Jamaican puppet with him to numerous campaign events. This past August 25, Pichel posted photos of himself standing next to a puppeteer wearing a campaign T-shirt and holding the Rastafarian effigy at an event in Allapattah:

Miami Commission Candidate Keeps Posing With Bizarre Racist Puppet

Screenshot via Frank Pichel / Facebook

The doll, oddly, seems to keep traveling with him. That same day, Pichel posted photos of the same puppeteer and puppet at a different location, the Commodore Three Round Towers in Allapattah:

Miami Commission Candidate Keeps Posing With Bizarre Racist Puppet

Screenshot via Frank Pichel / Facebook

Apparently, Pichel also took the doll to the city’s District 1 debate last month, according to a source present at the event. The obvious question, of course, is, why? Pichel, reached on his cell phone today, angrily began lecturing that the puppet was simply brought out in good fun and that it was, of course, not racist at all.

Pichel initially claimed the doll was present at only a single event August 25.

“It was a birthday party. The lady in the photo had just won a watch, and there was a puppeteer there entertaining the old folks,” he said. “It was nothing but that.”

When New Times then mentioned that the puppet appeared in multiple photos at different locations with the Pichel campaign and that a source said they’d seen the puppet a month ago, Pichel bristled.

“Tell that person to go fuck themselves,” he said. He then confirmed the puppeteer has been traveling to multiple campaign stops.

“It does nothing,” he continued. “It entertains old folks. The guy is not on my staff; he has a company and he does this for kids as well. It’s to entertain old people. It’s not racist; it’s not sexist; it’s not biased. It’s a friggin’ puppet. But write what you want — I really don’t care. It’s not gonna change the outcome of the election.”

Pichel, to say the least, has a colorful history in Miami. As New Times recounted in March, he was suspended from his job with the Miami Police Department for allegedly falsifying an incident report to cover for his friend, who’d allegedly beaten a handcuffed detainee to death. (Pichel maintains he’s innocent.) He later became the sergeant-at-arms of security at city hall, but while employed there in 2006, he was arrested for allegedly dealing illegal steroids and Cialis while off the clock. (He later pleaded no contest to one count of Cialis possession.)

Now Pichel wants to take Willy Gort’s District 1 seat because the commissioner is term-limited and can’t run again this year. But Pichel is flagging in donations: City records show he’s raised $21,525 so far, compared to frontrunner and former state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla’s $328,620. (Also, this year, New Times caught the perennially ethically challenged Diaz de la Portilla’s campaign workers discussing ballot tampering.)

As for Pichel, he neglected to mention what the puppet did or said to “entertain” seniors during campaign visits.

“I’m not gonna play games with you,” he said. “If you think it’s funny, then you think it’s funny. If you think it’s racist and all the other cartoons out there are racist, then write what you’re gonna write.”

He added, “It’s not gonna change the outcome of the election. I want to work for the people of Miami. And if I lose, I’ll go to my ranch in California and smoke weed.”

Published at Fri, 04 Oct 2019 20:04:00 +0000

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