Coral Gables Police Officer Manuel Rivero arrested on domestic battery charge

Rivero accused of attacking wife at southwest Miami-Dade home

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - A Coral Gables police officer was arrested Thursday on accusations that he attacked his wife.

According to an arrest report, neighbors called 911 Wednesday after Officer Manuel Rivero, 39, got into an altercation with his wife outside their home in southwest Miami-Dade.

Police said Rivero's wife had gone out for a jog after work and got into an argument with her husband when she returned home.

Police said the officer's wife left the home in their family's only car, but returned a short time later because she forgot her cellphone.

Three neighbors told police that Rivero met the victim in the driveway, grabbed her by the arm and began to pull her.

The witnesses said the woman was screaming, "Call the police. He's hitting me. He always hits me."

"She came out screaming, saying, 'Oh, you got my phone! Please, call the cops, call the cops! He beats me, he beats me!'" one neighbor told Local 10 News.  

Police said Rivero pushed the victim in the head area several times, entered the garage with her and closed the door.

Neighbors said they could hear muffled screaming and then saw the couple get into their car. They said the woman, whose hair was disheveled, sat in the front passenger seat with her head down. 

Police said Rivero's wife had minor abrasions to her neck and clavicle area.

They said Rivero had a large cut on his neck, stretching to his clavicle area. Police said Rivero claimed that he got the cut while retrieving a ball from a tree in his front yard.

"It needs to stop. Regardless if he's a police officer or not, he shouldn't be putting his hands on her," a neighbor said. 

Authorities said the officer denied physically touching his wife and said that they had just gotten into a verbal argument, "as they always do."

Rivero was arrested on a domestic battery charge.

The incident comes two months after Rivero was relieved of duty by the Coral Gables Police Department for a domestic violence incident that was reported at a South Miami mall.

Officer Kelly Denham said in a statement in June that Rivero was the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation involving the Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office.

The Coral Gables Internal Affairs unit was also investigating Rivero, according to Denham.

Records show that Rivero was also arrested April 3, 2016, after his wife told police that Rivero had choked her, shoved her into the doorframe of the closet door in their bedroom and shoved her head into the wall inside the bathroom.  

The case was dropped because Rivero's wife eventually decided not to press charges against her husband and there were no witnesses. 

According to the most recent arrest report, Rivero has been employed by the Coral Gables Police Department for 18 years.

The couple has two children together. 

"She needs to move on and, I mean, do what she needs to do, but I hope she learned from this experience," a neighbor said. 

Denham said Rivero remains relieved of duty following his arrest. 

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