SWEETWATER (CBSMiami) — A South Florida private investigator has filed a motion in court asking a judge to order all Sweetwater Police officers to stay away from him.
The move comes after private investigator Jorge Del Rio said a police lieutenant stalked and tried to intimidate him.
“I haven’t been able to sleep since this situation. I look out the window every five minutes, very paranoid,” said Del Rio.
Del Rio shot dash cam video of an unmarked Sweetwater Police vehicle driving in his neighborhood and then parked in front of his home. This was the day before he was set to appear at a hearing on the federal lawsuit he had filed against the police department in 2012.
The city of Sweetwater confirmed the vehicle was driven by Police Lieutenant Marcos Villanueva who was on duty at the time. He parked in front of Del Rio’s house, though Del Rio does not live in Sweetwater’s jurisdiction. Lieutenant Villanueva was on duty at the time.
“I was threatened. My family, my neighbors are looking out their windows to see if this cop’s driving by again,” said Del Rio.
Del Rio said he called Miami-Dade Police to check out the suspicious vehicle but someone cancelled the call without explanation.
“I thought that after I filed the lawsuit, I was kind of protected from them doing anything to me,” said Del Rio.
Attorney Rick Diaz says this lieutenant was sending a message.
“I call it harassment. I call it intimidation. I call it stalking. There’s no reason for this officer to be outside of his jurisdiction, in front of the house, parked no less of a person who’s made some very serious allegations about police corruption and a pending lawsuit,” said Del Rio’s attorney Rick Diaz.
In the lawsuit, Del Rio accuses Sweetwater officers of falsely arresting him and holding him for hours.
“They kept me at the police station, for 16 hours, no bathroom, no food, no nothing,” said Del Rio.
He said the arrest was retaliation for complaining about a previous run-in with the department.
Named in Del Rio’s lawsuit are Sweetwater Lieutenant Ignacio Menocal, twin brother of the city police chief, former chief Roberto Fulgeira, suspended officer Octavio Oliu who is charged with using a fake license plate to avoid paying tolls, former officer Willie Garcia who was convicted of identity theft and credit card fraud, and former Mayor Manny Marono who is in a federal lockup for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
“I think unfortunately there’s a very systematic problem,” said Del Rio.
The attorney representing the city would not comment on the allegations, but said Del Rio’s motion to forbid Sweetwater officers from contacting him holds no weight.
A judge will now review this motion and decide whether Sweetwater Police can be ordered to stay away from Del Rio. The attorney for the City said the judge is also considering a motion to dismiss Del Rio’s lawsuit altogether.