Miami-Dade police officer arrested, accused of misconduct

Police say Joshua Zacarias lied about damage to police cruiser

DORAL, Fla. – The Miami-Dade Police Department has arrested one of its own.

Miami-Dade police said Officer Joshua Zacarias was arrested Tuesday as the result of an internal affairs investigation.

Zacharias faces a charge of official misconduct.

In 2013, Zacharias claimed his police cruiser had been vandalized, but an investigation revealed that he actually struck the security gate as he pulled into the substation and lied about how the damage occurred, police said.

"It is disheartening when an officer has betrayed his fellow officers and the community that he swore to protect," Miami-Dade Police Director J.D. Patterson said in a statement. "The Miami-Dade Police Department does not condone conduct that undermines the trust of the community and investigates all allegations of misconduct with professionalism and thoroughness."

According to the arrest affidavit, Zacarias said he noticed the damage to his police cruiser when he returned to his apartment complex in Hialeah after his two days off, during which he was out of town.  

His attorney, Douglas Hartman, said on the date in question the officer was working an overnight detail, made multiple arrests and was in and out of that security gate several times. Hartman said Zacarias doesn't recall hitting anything.

Hartman believes it was a stretch for the state attorney to make an arrest in a case like this.

"I think clearly it should have been handled administratively,," Hartman said. "I think it's a Miami-Dade Police Department issue, not a criminal issue, but I don't control the state. The state thought there was probable cause to believe that he committed a crime, but we have always pushed for an administrative remedy to the issue if it was, in fact, true."

Follow Roger Lohse on Twitter @RogerLohse

Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10