A Coral Gables police officer who was relieved of duty in June after a domestic violence allegation was arrested again on a battery charge against his wife Wednesday night, police said.
Manny Rivero, 39, was arrested by Miami-Dade police at his home in Southwest Miami-Dade on charges of domestic battery, Coral Gables police spokeswoman Kelly Denham said. He was booked in jail and held in Miami-Dade Corrections custody overnight, according to corrections spokesman Juan Diasgranados.
Rivero appeared in court Thursday morning, where his bond was set at $2,500 and he was subject to house arrest. A restraining order ordered him to stay away from his wife.
Miami-Dade police were called to Rivero’s home shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday, after a neighbor reported seeing Rivero grab his wife Danielle by the arm in the driveway. The neighbor, along with two others, told police that they heard her scream, “Call the police, he[’s] hitting me, he always hits me,” before Rivero hit her in the head several times with his free hand, according to the arrest report.
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The neighbors told police that Rivero then dragged his wife inside the garage and closed the door, though they could still hear muffled screaming. After several minutes, Rivero was seen entering his family’s car with his wife in the passenger seat, with disheveled hair and scrapes on her neck and collarbone.
When officers arrived, Rivero told them that he had had only a verbal exchange with his wife. He said a fresh scrape on his neck had occurred after he tried to retrieve a ball from a tree in his front yard. He was arrested and taken to the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.
Rivero, an 18-year veteran on the Coral Gables force, had been relieved of duty in June after he was investigated in another domestic violence incident at The Shops at Sunset Place in South Miami, police said at the time. That incident triggered a criminal investigation led by South Miami police and the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office, as well as an ongoing internal Gables investigation into Rivero’s use of a marked police car, which he had allegedly used to leave the scene.
Rivero, a Coral Gables detective, had largely received positive performance reviews since he joined the police force in 1999 and received occasional commendations. But the officer has had a history of domestic disputes, reflected in his internal affairs file. In April 2016, police arrested and charged Rivero with one count of misdemeanor battery and one count of domestic battery by strangulation, a third-degree felony.
His wife called Miami-Dade police after the couple got into an argument, according to an arrest form at the time. While standing in the master bedroom, Rivero grabbed her by the throat and caused her face to hit a door frame. Rivero then grabbed his wife by the throat and pushed her into a walk-in closet, according to the report.
Rivero was relieved of duty after the charges were filed, and the state attorney’s office launched an investigation. But in a letter filed less than two weeks later, Danielle Rivero recanted her statement to prosecutors.
“He is a good father and his daughters need his presence in their lives,” she wrote in a letter asking that Rivero be allowed to resume contact with them. “He is not a danger to me.”
The state attorney’s office declined to prosecute the case almost a year after the arrest, writing, “Without the victim’s cooperation, this case cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Rivero was reinstated after the SAO investigation was closed, according to his internal affairs file. The police internal investigation, however, was sustained, and Rivero was removed from the department’s crisis negotiating team. He was reassigned to the uniform patrol division and ordered to undergo mandatory counseling.
Denham said Thursday that Coral Gables Police Chief Edward J. Hudak Jr. was “made aware immediately after” Rivero’s arrest Wednesday. He is evaluating a possible change in Rivero’s status with the department, she said. Rivero has been on leave with pay since being relieved of duty in June, per administrative policy.
Staff writer Lance Dixon contributed to this report.