Hialeah's Chief of Police called a news conference Friday morning to address reports regarding the FBI investigation of Sergeant Jesse Menocal Jr., who is facing allegations of sexual misconduct with at least one minor.
Chief Sergio Velazquez defended his decision not to take Sergeant Menocal off the job when administrative and criminal investigations of the incident began.
The allegations against Sergeant Menocal originally surfaced in June of 2015, though it remains unknown exactly how many accusations of sexual misconduct he is facing. An investigation by the Miami Herald claimed there are at least four complaints from alleged female victims.
At the press conference, Velazquez said that the State Attorney's office had not chosen to move forward with the case after reviewing a preliminary round of information. In addition, he said, union contracts had prevented him from firing Menocal.
"Based on the information that was developed at the time, the state attorney's office did not prosecute or feel there was enough at the time to prosecute," Velazquez said. "Like any case, when there's new developments, and there's a reason to re-open it and re-address it, that is what has happened in this case."
Only then did he make the decision to switch Menocal to desk duty, Velazquez said.
The chief has been facing criticism for keeping Menocal employed during the administrative and criminal investigations of the incident.
"Police officers get held to a very high standard, and I'm here to enforce that standard," Velazquez said.