Menocal, who had once been chief in the 1990s, replaces Roberto Fulgueira, who resigned after eight years on the job.
Then-mayor Manny Maroño demoted Menocal from the position of police chief in 2003, shortly after he referred a case of alleged police brutality to the state attorney’s office. Maroño was accused of witnessing the beating of a teenager by some officers.
Sweetwater Police is currently under an FBI investigation that includes allegations of public corruption and excessive force by its officers. The FBI recently arrested Maroño after an investigation of public corruption. He pleaded not guilty in a federal court last week.
Diaz took over after Maroños’ arrest and accused Exposito of exposing the old case because Exposito is friends with Mario Miranda’s, a former Sweetwater commander whom the mayor fired recently.
Miranda, who has announced that he is suing the city, told told El Nuevo Herald Thursday that he is coordinating commissioner Orlando López’s campaign for mayor.
Exposito denied that he is close to Miranda.
“I don’t know Mayor Díaz, I am not too close to Mario Miranda and my interest in Sweetwater is zero,” he said. “I was simply contacted to be on the TV show and I accepted because I had done that investigation so many years ago.”
Menocal said that it seems strange that the report never surfaced during his earlier years as Sweetwater’s police chief under other mayors from 1995 to 2003.
“If I was so bad and dirty, why was I not arrested or questioned by a state or federal agency? Or why did that report never come out years ago?” he said.
Menocal said he had more important things to worry about than the disclosure of the old report. He said his goal was to clean the department, which has been affected by recent scandals.
“We wish to try to remove the dark cloud that has been planted on this department,” Menocal said. “I seek to bring more transparency and justice, and that people know that we are here to protect them.”