Miami police officer accused of ordering woman into his car, fondling her

Officer Alexi Figueroa suspended with pay since February 2016

MIAMI – A Miami police officer has been arrested on charges of false imprisonment and simple battery after he used his position to force a woman into his police car, where he kissed and fondled her, police said.

Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes announced the arrest of Officer Alexi Figueroa in a statement Thursday.

Llanes said Figueroa's arrest is the culmination of an investigation by the Miami-Dade Police Department and the state attorney's office.

According to an arrest warrant, a 19-year-old woman was walking home from a store with a roll of toilet paper early in the morning on Jan. 26, 2016, when a Miami police officer, later identified as Figueroa, pulled up next to her and told her to get into his car.

The woman, who did what she was told, got in the front passenger seat as Figueroa began talking to her inappropriately, asking her if she wanted to be "friends with benefits," Miami-Dade police Detective Kurtis Lueck wrote in the warrant.

Figueroa then leaned over, kissed her on the mouth and reached his hand down her shirt and under her bra, the warrant said.

The woman decided to go to the Miami Police Department to report the incident and met with internal affairs investigators.

Sgt. Moises Velazquez and Sgt. Max Gabriel took the woman's sworn statement and showed her several photographs of police officers who were working at the time of the incident, but Figueroa's photo was never shown to her, Lueck wrote.

Surveillance video from the area that showed a woman get into a police car helped to corroborate her story. Lueck determined that the police car seen in the video was assigned to Figueroa, the warrant said.

Figueroa also looked up the woman's cellphone number and called her the next day, telling her, "This is the officer," the warrant said. A search of the woman's phone revealed that the number used to call her was Figueroa's, Lueck wrote.

Figueroa was presented with the Medal of Heroism Award by Gov. Rick Scott in 2013 after he helped apprehend a gunman who was shooting in the direction of a supermarket where Figueroa, who was off duty, and his family were shopping.

Llanes said Figueroa has been relieved of duty with pay since February 2016 and will remain suspended pending the outcome of the criminal charges and an internal investigation.

Figueroa is charged with one count of false imprisonment and two counts of simple battery.

About the Author:

Peter Burke returned for a second stint of duty at Local 10 News in February 2014.