HOMESTEAD _ The Miami-Dade Police Department has opened a criminal investigation into allegations that a Homestead police rookie pulled a department-issued gun on her boyfriend at a Super Bowl party, a spokesman confirmed on Tuesday.
“I made contact with our Domestic Crimes Bureau who is now in possession of the case, and they are advising me that this is an ‘Active Criminal Investigation’ and are not at liberty yet to release any information on the case,’’ Robert E. Williams, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade Police Department, wrote in an email on Tuesday to the South Florida Times.
The investigation centers on Jenna Maldonado, 28, a reserve officer with the Homestead Police Department. Maldonado is the daughter of former Homestead Mayor Lynda Bell, who was defeated in the 2009 elections.
Homestead police are conducting their own investigation, and have suspended Maldonado.
“It is an IA [Homestead Police Internal Affairs] investigation that is ongoing and she is on suspension from the Reserve Officer Program,” Homestead Police Department spokesman Capt. Ed Bowe said last week. “The Miami-Dade Police Department’s Domestic Violence Division is conducting the criminal investigation, and will decide on any charges, or referral to the State Attorney.”
Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office spokesman Ed Griffith said late last week that his agency had yet to get any information about the case. But, he said, his office is aware of the incident.
According to several sources close to the investigation who requested anonymity, the incident happened on Sunday, Feb. 7 during a Super Bowl party in the unincorporated Redlands area of Miami-Dade County. Maldonado, who was off duty, and a person identified only as “Steve,’’ got into a heated argument, sources said.
Sources describe “Steve” as Maldonado’s boyfriend. The disagreement escalated to the point at which Maldonado allegedly threatened her boyfriend with her department-issued service weapon, sources said.
Efforts to reach Maldonado through the Police Department and her Facebook page have been unsuccessful.
Though sources say over a dozen people reportedly witnessed the incident, Miami-Dade Police, who patrol the area, were never called. The next day, the boyfriend contacted Maldonado’s employer, the Homestead Police Department, and reported the incident.
Bowe said Homestead police contacted the Miami-Dade Police Department because the incident happened in Miami-Dade’s jurisdiction.
A number of other people at the party who witnessed the incident have provided recorded statements to Homestead police, according to sources. In addition to her suspension, Maldonado has been ordered to turn in her service weapon.
“It was our gun that was used,” Bowe said late last week. “Any use of a service revolver, if it is not used in the justifiable duty as a police officer, is unacceptable.”
Pictured above is Homestead Police Officer Jenna Maldonado, in a photo obtained from her Facebook page.