The first two officers that they discussed were investigated by the PD's own internal affairs bureau and charged with official misconduct and theft. Apparently Officers Daniel Fernandez and David Valentin were managing a rental property and used their badges to help collect rents and evict people who were behind on their rents. Now that's a serious problem isn't it? Pay the rent or I'll arrest your ass? Or get your crap out of the apartment before we lock your ass up? That makes for a serious abuse of the badge doesn't it?
Does this have our favorite former mortgage fraud Detective Jorge Baluja investigator worried at all? Imagine this hypothetical situation for a moment, imagine if Detective Baluja was in the business of lending money on real estate and used his badge to get the people he lent money to to pay up? Wouldn't that be much worse than what the two City of Miami cops got arrested for? Wouldn't that "hypothetical" situation be extremely bad for the pride and joy of the mortgage fraud task force? While we're not saying that's what's going on, this document that we found in the Miami Dade clerk of courts certainly makes it a possibility now doesn't it?
Detective Jorge Baluja the Private Lender
Oh boy! Look at that, the mortgage fraud investigator who doesn't understand the basics of real estate transactions or mortgages is himself a private lender?! That's certainly interesting isn't it? You have to wonder, did Detective Baluja ever use his badge to get the borrower in line? Interesting, this certainly warrants further investigation now doesn't it?
The third cop arrested, Christian Alvarez-Vega was charged with the following:
- Depriving an individual of his civil rights while acting under the color of law.
- Possessing and using without the lawful authority a means of identification of that same individual.
Another Miami cop faces federal civil rights charges for allegedly stealing a debit card from a car crash victim and hundreds of dollars from a bank account. Officer Christian Alvarez-Vega, a 37-year-old with 12 years on the force, responded to a car crash on January 11 and helped transport an injured victim to the hospital, according to a federal indictment.Not exactly the federal civil rights violations that I was expecting, but a great step in the right direction nonetheless. If we really want to see a cop violating a citizens civil rights, why don't we take a look at Detective Baluja in action? Take a look:
Alvarez-Vega later realized the victim had left a credit card on his front seat. Rather than returning it, he called the victim and said he needed the card's PIN number as part of the investigation. Then he took the card to a grocery store and withdrew $460.
Alvarez-Vega appeared in federal court earlier today. He's now free on a $150,000 bond.
Now, doesn't all that make What Officer Alvarez-Vega look like child's play in comparison?
We were disappointed at first when we learned of the nature of the crimes that these cops were charged with, they seemed too trivial to even be worthwhile. On the other hand, take into consideration that this is a first step towards getting rid of dirty cops, perhaps the acts seem trivial, but now we know that both the feds and the local law enforcement are taking police misconduct VERY SERIOUSLY. That's good enough for us. As far as Detective Baluja is concerned, I'd be a little worried right now.
Have a great weekend!