Miami Mayor Joe Carollo was jailed on a misdemeanor battery charge today after police were called to his home to investigate a domestic violence complaint, police said.
Police spokesman Lt. Bill Schwartz said officers went to the residence that Carollo shares with his wife, Maria, and their two daughters early in the morning "to investigate a domestic disturbance involving Mayor Joe Carollo and his wife."
Police released a tape of a 911 phone call in which one of the mayor's daughters tells emergency operators, "My dad's hurting my mom."
After several hours of questioning, the mayor was charged with one misdemeanor count of simple battery, police said.
They declined to provide details, except to say that under Florida law, it is not the victim's decision whether charges will be filed or not.
"That responsibility rests with the investigating law enforcement agency, based on probable cause," police said.
Another Embarrassment for Miami
The case is another embarrassment for a city that has been mocked as a "Banana Republic" in recent years due to a litany of corruption scandals, electoral fraud, and the antics of local officials.
Carollo's attorney, Ben Kuehne, said the mayor was denied a request for an emergency bond hearing and would spend the night behind bars.
He said the mayor's wife had not asked for the arrest and that it was a personal dispute in which police involvement was unwarranted.
Carollo and his wife had announced plans to divorce in November. He blamed the breakup of their 15-year marriage in part on the demands of public office.
The Cuban-born mayor earned national attention during the Elian Gonzalez saga when he lobbied to keep the 6-year-old shipwreck survivor from being returned to Cuba with his father. He vowed that local police would not participate in federal efforts to remove Elian.
After federal agents seized Elian from his Miami relatives' home, Carollo fired the city manager in part for refusing to dismiss the police chief, who had allowed officers to accompany federal agents during the raid.
City Commissioner Joe Sanchez said he was "saddened" by the incident, which he called a personal matter.
"The vultures will be flying soon. With an election coming this year, there's a lot of candidates already inquiring what would be the outcome," he told a Miami television station.