Instead of transporting a woman to jail, a Miami police officer fondled her and tried to force her to perform oral sex on him, authorities said.
Officer Luis Hernandez, 27, was arrested Wednesday and charged with armed kidnapping and sexual battery by a law enforcement officer. DNA found on the woman linked him to the attack, prosecutors said.
His arrest comes as the Miami Police Department has sought to clean house amid a series of scandals involving officer misconduct.
Also Wednesday, the department announced it was firing an officer who shot and killed an unarmed motorist during a traffic stop in Little Haiti two years ago. Prosecutors did not file charges, but police nevertheless said the officer violated department policies.
The internal affairs unit and the FBI is also investigating up to 10 officers suspected of providing protection to a Liberty City gambling house; so far, one officer has been arrested.
A Miami detective was also convicted this month in federal court for stealing money and drugs from suspects.
In Hernandez’s case, he was tasked with transporting to jail a woman who had been arrested in November 2011 for fighting another woman at La Boriqua Cafeteria in Wynwood. The woman had been charged with simple battery and taken to Miami police headquarters.
Instead, Hernandez took the woman to a police detention center at Bayside Marketplace. Another officer grew concerned because the woman had injuries, according to an arrest warrant.
That officer took the woman to Miami-Dade County Jail, which refused to accept her because of her injuries. She immediately told jailers that Hernandez had attacked her.
Internal affairs Detective Herminia Salas-Jacobson noted that there were 34 minutes of “unaccounted time” that Hernandez had the woman in his control.
The woman told investigators that Hernandez drove her to an area near the police station, saying “I am going to help you,” according to the arrest warrant.
Outside the patrol car, Hernandez poured a “liquid” on her and began fondling her, the warrant said. He also demanded oral sex, but the crying woman refused. He later stopped and drove her to Bayside.
At the jail, she “explained that although she is an illegal alien and has no immigration documents and no family in this country, she reported the incident because she believed this could happen to more people if she did not disclose,” the warrant said.
Hernandez is not the first officer to be accused of sexual misconduct. Ex-Miami Officer Michael Ragusa pleaded guilty in 2008 to sexual attacks on three woman; he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.