Miami police officer Alexi Figueroa was arrested on Wednesday after he allegedly ordered a 19-year-old woman into his patrol car, then kissed her and fondled her breasts without her permission. Figueroa, 27, was off-duty at the time, but was still wearing his uniform.
According to the arrest report, the alleged incident took place last year in the Model City neighborhood near NW 80th Street and 7th Avenue outside the city of Miami. Figueroa had reportedly finished his patrol shift for the night when he approached a 19-year-old woman who was walking in the street. The woman, who is not named in the warrant, later told Miami-Dade police that she was going to the store to buy toilet paper when she met Figueroa.
Figueroa pulled up next to her and then ordered her to get inside his car. When she was in the front passenger seat, he reportedly started talking “inappropriately” to her, asking her if she wanted to be “friends with benefits.” He then kissed her on the mouth and fondled her breasts.
The woman ran home and told her mother, who called Miami’s Internal Affairs division the next day. The victim was shown several pictures of police men who were working at the time of the alleged incident, but she reportedly pointed out the wrong man. Figueroa’s picture was never shown to her.
Despite the victim’s failure to correctly identify Figueroa, detectives continued to investigate her claim. Surveillance video from the area places a police patrol car at the same time and the exact location where the alleged incident took place. The patrol car’s number was visible in the video and it matched the car used by Figueroa that night, police logs revealed.
The victim also claimed that Figueroa called her mother’s cellphone after she reported the incident. She told police that she was at home when the cellphone rang. She took the call and immediately recognized Figueroa’s voice on the other end. She hung up in terror and later moved from her home in fear of retaliation from Figueroa, the arrest warrant said.
Figueroa joined the police department in 2012. He was awarded the Medal of Heroism—one of the highest honors for a law enforcement officer—by Florida Governor Rick Scott in 2013 after he apprehended a man who was firing a gun in a supermarket. Figueroa was off duty on that day and was out shopping with his family.
He was placed on paid leave after the incident was reported. The city of Miami released a statement to the press saying Figueroa would remain on leave “until the conclusion of the court case and our own internal investigation.”
The Miami Fraternal Order of Police is representing Figueroa in the case and has promised that he would be cleared of all charges. The president of the union told the press that Figueroa has been “looking forward to his day in court” because he expects he’ll be exonerated of the charges.