Arraignment for Lt. Braulio Gonzalez
Before a Miami-Dade police lieutenant was accused of molesting a young girl, he was cleared by his own department of allegations he repeatedly beat and abused his former lovers, newly released records show.
In two cases, the women said Braulio Gonzalez became exceedingly jealous and pointed weapons at them, threatening their lives, according to internal affairs files. One woman said he choked her and head-butted her so hard it broke her nose. The other woman claimed Gonzalez threw a bottle of whiskey at her and broke her arm.
A third woman also complained to Miami-Dade police’s Professional Compliance Bureau in 2015 about his suspected abuse. Records of that complaint, however, were not immediately available; the department ruled only that he violated a rule against conduct “unbecoming” of an officer and had not followed proper procedure.
Miami-Dade police released the files this week as prosecutors, in an unrelated case, formally charged Gonzalez with armed kidnapping and lewd and lascivious molestation of a child. On Thursday, he pleaded not guilty and will remain in jail until at least Oct. 23, when a judge will consider whether he can post bond before trial.
His defense attorney, Bruce Lehr, could not comment on the old domestic abuse allegations because he was not familiar with them. But he said Gonzalez is innocent of the newly filed molestation case.
“My client is very anxious for the facts to be known,” Lehr said Thursday.
In his latest case, a young girl told a psychologist that Gonzalez fondled her repeatedly when she was between 8 and 10 years old, according to an arrest warrant filed in court. A complaint was filed with the Florida Department of Children and Families.
The girl later told a DCF interviewer that the first time that Gonzalez fondled her, he pointed a gun at her head and threatened to kill a relative unless she went with him to another room, the warrant said. The fondling happened repeatedly for two years, according to authorities.
Gonzalez was a supervisor with Miami-Dade’s Special Response Team, the heavily armed tactical unit that handles hostage situations, barricaded suspects and provides security for serving search and arrest warrants.
His domestic troubles were well-known within the department.
According to Gonzalez’s police files, the first alleged victim was interviewed by police in February of 2011. The two owned a home together and were a couple from 2006 until 2010. The woman told police the violence began in November 2006 when Gonzalez grabbed her by the hair, threw her to the ground and kicked her three times.
Two years later, she said, he grabbed her, jumped on top of her and choked her. And in December 2009, the woman told police, Gonzalez pointed a rifle at her and said, “You’re going to die today.”
Gonzalez denied the allegations.
A panel of fellow police officers cleared Gonzalez, saying there was “insufficient evidence to prove or disprove” the woman’s allegations.
In the second case brought before internal affairs, a woman who dated Gonzalez from August 2011 through March 2013 told police that Gonzalez became violent with her on eight separate occasions. In the 20 months they dated, she told police, Gonzalez pointed a gun at her face, grabbed her by the hair, threw a pole from a broken fan at her and broke her arm when he threw a bottle of Johnny Walker Black whiskey at her.
The alleged crimes against the woman came to light after a neighbor told police the alleged victim told her she’d been raped.
Gonzalez told police that his girlfriend — a veteran Miami-Dade police officer — called him and said she was injured when a bicycle hanging from a rafter in the garage fell and injured her arm. The woman told police that the two concocted the story on the way to the hospital and that she was actually injured when Gonzalez threw a whiskey bottle at her and she raised her arm to protect her face.
Again, Gonzalez denied the allegations when questioned by internal-affairs investigators. Detectives also asked Miami-Dade Medical Examiner Emma Lew to assess the wound.
In the end, another panel of fellow officers found all eight claims from the woman to be unsubstantiated. In seven of them, the panel concluded “there is no independent witness or evidence to corroborate the complainant’s allegations.”