Violent domestic dispute leads to I-75 incident involving Miramar police officer, police say

Roberto Zaldivar, 24, accused of choking girlfriend before following her in car

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Trent Kelly - Reporter

MIRAMAR, Fla. - A domestic dispute that turned violent led to an incident on Interstate 75 over the weekend involving a Miramar police officer, authorities said.

According to an arrest report, the officer got into an argument with the father of her two children Saturday at their home in Hialeah. 

Police said Roberto Zaldivar, 24, accused his girlfriend of cheating on him and demanded that she show him her text messages. 

Authorities said she complied, but he threw her phone down, grabbed her by the neck and pushed her onto a bed. 

According to the report, the victim told officers that she felt like she was going to pass out and her legs and arms felt numb.

Police said the officer tapped her boyfriend on the arms several times until he finally let her go.  

She then got dressed and got into her patrol car to head to work, authorities said.

Police said Zaldivar followed her outside, reached into the driver's side window and pulled her hair while ordering his girlfriend to get out of the car.

Police said the victim put the car in park, as if she was going to get out, but then drove away after Zaldivar let go of her hair. 

According to a Florida Highway Patrol report, Zaldivar followed the victim in his Nissan Altima.

Authorities said the victim tried to evade Zaldivar, but he persisted, weaving in and out of lanes and slamming on his brakes in front of the officer's car.

"(The) next thing I know, I see a police car coming by me at a high rate of speed being followed by a silver sedan," witness Austin Conley said. 

Conley turned over his dashcam footage to the Florida Highway Patrol.

"It made me feel unsafe," Conley said. "At first, I just thought it was a police car, you know, going by me, and I was like, 'Oh,' and then the car coming after him. I was like, 'Oh, that person's about to get pulled over.' But that wasn't how it happened at all."

In the video captured by Conley's dashcam, the sedan appears to cut off the cruiser, forcing the officer to slam on the brakes.

The two vehicles are then seen weaving in and out of traffic, with the sedan almost losing control at one point.

Conley said the sedan also appeared to sideswipe the patrol vehicle. 

Authorities confirmed that Zaldivar sideswiped the officer's car as she was veering off the Miramar Parkway exit and he was trying to get in front of her vehicle again.

Roberto Zaldivar, 24, was arrested July 30 on charges of battery by strangulation and burglary with assault or battery.

The two vehicles eventually pulled over. Authorities said Zaldivar then drove away. 

Miramar police confirmed they were made aware of the incident after the officer reported it to her supervisor.

"Unfortunately, domestic violence is prevalent in every community and affects people regardless of their age, gender, socio-economic status, race or religion -- and, in this case, their employment," Miramar police spokeswoman Tania Rues said in an email. "Police officers are not immune to being victims of domestic abuse. The Miramar Police Department has offered victim services to this employee and will continue to support ALL victims of crime." 

Miramar police said the cruiser sustained minor damage, but the officer did not suffer any serious injuries.

Troopers said Zaldivar was not at the couple's home when they arrived to question him.

He was located Monday and arrested on charges of battery by strangulation and burglary with assault or battery.

Authorities said the officer suffered a bruise and scratches to her neck. She also had scratches on her left wrist, police said. 

Hialeah police detectives said Zaldivar refused to provide a statement to them. 

He appeared in court Monday afternoon, where he was ordered held in lieu of a $20,000 bond. If he posts bail, Zaldivar will be placed on house arrest. 

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