MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A six year veteran of the Homestead Police Department was fired after a woman complained that he asked her to show him her bra and breasts during a traffic stop.
Juan Senabre, who was terminated last June, will go to arbitration where he could get his job back.
“He has filed a grievance and requested arbitration. His hearing will be held before a neutral arbitrator later this year where he expects to be vindicated based on the discrepancies in the statements of the complainant and witnesses,” said Senabre’s attorney Teri Guttman Valdes in a statement.
Zenaida Figueroa-Ortiz and her boyfriend were on their way to the home of a friend, Dunia Amaya, when they were pulled over by Senabre who informed her that she was driving with a suspended license, according to city documents. Figueroa-Ortiz would later tell investigators that Senabre informed her that should would be arrested and put her in his patrol car.
Instead of driving to the jail, however, Figueroa-Ortiz said he drove to a darkened apartment complex nearby and stopped the car. Senabre then reportedly told her that he could help her so she didn’t go to jail.
Senabre then pulled Figueroa-Ortiz into an alley, according to police.
“He requested to see her breasts and panties and asked her if she’s ever been with an officer, a crazy officer, something to that effect,” said police spokesman Detective Antonio Aquino.
It was at this point, according to Figueroa-Ortiz, that a car drove up and Senabre drove Figueroa-Ortizto to Amaya’s residence. Amaya remembers that day well. She said Figueroa-Ortiz came to her apartment and said an officer had wanted to arrest her.
“She came back 20 minutes later with the police officer, she was crying, she was very nervous,” recalled Amaya.
Amaya said Figueroa-Ortiz told her that Senebra had propositioned her.
“Do you know what he just told me? He told me if I wanted to go to bed with him, I will not take you to jail if you sleep with me,” recalled Amaya.
A few days later, Figueroa-Ortiz reportedly told police what happened. After an internal investigation and hearing in front of the city manager, it was decided that Senabre should be terminated for violating department and city rules which state employees will not act in a way to embarrass the department and competently carry out their duties.
Valdes has denied all the allegations against her client.
“Those who are sworn to enforce the law must uphold it, the law, when we find these violations we address them swiftly correctly and fairly,” said Aquino. “Our officers here in Homestead are some of the finest.”
Just last month three Homestead officers were arrested. Two of the officers were accused of assaulting migrant workers; the third was accused of helping to try to cover it up. Homestead police said they’re working to restore the public’s faith in them.
“We restore it by showing them we’re addressing it and any complaints that come in we address them and go through them and deal fairly with everyone involved,” said Aquino.
Amaya said after seeing what her friend went through, restoring her trust will take a while.
“Supposedly police are supposed to protect you but now women get scared when you see a patrol officer coming by because you don’t know if they’re going to give you a ticket or something else is going to happen,” said Amaya.