Hialeah police say they will investigate themselves in a case where an officer is accused of forcing a teenage girl to strip under threat of arrest.
Or as they call it, “harassment of a minor.”
The Sunshine State’s 6th largest city, Hialeah is Miami’s little brother lacking ritzy waterfront hotels or professional sports franchises. Her gritty streets are host to warehouses, a budding arts district and many, many suburban homes.
As we reported Tuesday, a 17-girl who was pulled over after making a u-turn said she was placed in the back of a police car and driven to a police station, where she was ordered into an interrogation room and told to remove her clothing as the cop rubbed his penis.
Hialeah Police Department, patrols their working-class municipality, the second largest in Miami-Dade, has been remaining mum on the allegations in the hopes nobody would notice.
But the story has slowly been picking up steam in the South Florida news media, which previously had been focusing on puff pieces about the Hialeah police memorial tribute to the “two fallen canines,” downplaying the fact that the dogs were killed after a cop left him in his car all day under the broiling sun.
So we’re not just talking about another bad apple, but about another bad apple that did not fall too far from the tree.
Hialeah Police Chief Sergio Velázquez said on Thursday that his department will investigate a police officer accused of harassing a 17-year-old girl.
Velázquez said Hialeah police leaders met on Monday with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office to coordinate the delivery of evidence as the investigation of Sgt. Jesús “Jesse” Menocal Jr., accused of harassing a minor, moves forward.
“This is a very delicate road […] and we seek to be impartial,” said Velázquez. “Our job is to get to the bottom of this. If it is proven that there was wrongdoing, the appropriate decision will be taken. Otherwise, he will return to work.”
Menocal Jr., a Hialeah SWAT team officer with eight years in the department, was suspended with pay on Sunday after the young girl and her girlfriend — a 20-year-old woman — denounced the incident.
Menocal Jr. is the son of Jesús “Jesse” Menocal, who retired as Sweetwater police chief in May. He has not commented on the case.
The fact that Menocal has been suspended with pay since Sunday, but Hialeah PD is only now admitting this, which shows you the type of transparency we should expect from their self “investigation.”
They said it all started as a quick U-turn on the road. They said the officer pulled them over and took one of them in for questioning. “[He asked me] how do I have intercourse, and I told him, ‘Why do I need to answer that? Why is that necessary?’ He insisted me to answer it, so I told him how me and my partner have intercourse, which is me and my girlfriend,” said the alleged victim. “After, he asked if I was a virgin. He asked me, if he was to test me right that moment, if I had any diseases on me.”
The woman said the officer went even further. “He puts down his weapon belt, and he starts rubbing on his private parts, which is his [expletive], and he tells me to take off my pants. If not, I was going to be arrested,” said the alleged victim.
Unable to hold back tears, the victim said she did as she was told out of fear. “I thought I was going to get arrested for no reason. I feel like I was being detained for no reason. He had put me in a room, he told me I was going to be with investigators, and out of nowhere, there’s no one in the office.”
The woman said the officer then asked to see her from behind. After that, she said, he wanted more. “He wanted me to take off my shirt and my bra together, and I told him, ‘No. Why do I have to do that? There’s no reason to do that. Then he said, ‘Oh, I thought you wanted to [expletive].'”
“Honestly, I thought I was going to get raped,” said the alleged victim. “I thought he would make me sleep with him.”
He was also presented with an “Officer of the Month” award by the Miami-Dade County Association of Chiefs of Police, where we imagine his father was a member while serving as Sweetwater chief, which is why he is posing in the photo with his son.
Below is a family photo of the Menocals, from left to right, father, mother, Jonathan and Jesse, Jr., the cop accused of forcing the girl to strip as he fondled his penis.
As far as the investigation goes, we need to keep in mind his police family in South Florida extends much deeper than the biological family we see in the photo below.
They are full-fledged members of South Florida’s Blue Mafia, so we should not expect any actual results, even if the girl is telling the truth.
And I say that because numerous commenters have been accusing her of making up the allegations.
But don’t be surprised if that is exactly what junior was expecting from police in the City of Progress.