Under Suspicion

Despite a history of corruption in its north district substation, the Miami Police Department won't get tough with its own cops

Griffin claims he worked with half a dozen officers, among them a ten-year veteran of the Miami Police Department named Jacqueline Mesidor, who is 30 years old. When asked why he was willing to talk now, he replied, "I'm thinking about writing a book."

Griffin's allegations are not without corroboration. A friend of his, who also is in prison, told New Times he remembered Griffin talking about pulling jobs with Mesidor, and added that he had seen Griffin and Mesidor meet. In addition a former Miami internal-affairs officer confirmed that Griffin implicated Mesidor when he was contemplating cooperation with the government.

Mesidor denies any involvement with Griffin. "Who? Marvin Griffin? No," she answered when asked if she knew the convict. Griffin, however, did have knowledge of personal details about Mesidor, including the type of car she drove and where she used to live. Mesidor explained that a lot of people knew where she lived because her patrol car was parked in front of her house. "I'm not saying I don't know him," the officer elaborated. "I know a lot of people because I work out here on the street. But what he's talking about, that's just a lie."

Miami Police Chief Raul Martinez believes problems in the north district are restricted to a few bad cops
Steve Satterwhite
Miami Police Chief Raul Martinez believes problems in the north district are restricted to a few bad cops

These circumstances -- a criminal with a proven history of working with crooked cops accusing an officer of corruption, and the officer, who has a relatively unblemished record, denying the allegation -- are exactly the sorts of cases internal affairs is supposed to resolve. But again the Miami Police Department apparently has not investigated Griffin's allegation to either substantiate the claim or exonerate the officer, leaving Jacqueline Mesidor under suspicion whether it's deserved or not.

Mesidor denies every assertion Griffin made in his account of their alleged history, which began, he claims, with a roadside flirtation. "I was riding down the street one day," Griffin recalls. "She was in her Lexus, I was in my Infiniti. She used her blinker lights to signal me to pull over. I walked over, and I knew she was a police officer. She said, “You know, I'm only a police officer eight hours a day.' I said, “Well, give me your number and I'll holler at you.'" (State motor-vehicle records show that a 1992 red two-door Lexus SC 400 was registered to Mesidor beginning in 1992. At the time she acquired her Lexus the manufacturer's suggested retail price was $37,500. Mesidor then was earning $26,600 as a police officer, excluding overtime and off-duty jobs.)

In short time, Griffin says, he felt comfortable enough with Mesidor to broach the subject of ripping off dealers. She warmed to the idea immediately, Griffin claims, but was wary of getting directly involved. So she gave him the name of a male officer from another department she knew would be interested. Griffin says he contacted that officer and the two of them did a simple job on a visiting dealer from Memphis. The cop pulled over Griffin and the Memphis dealer, searched the car, found a duffle bag full of money, and pretended to arrest Griffin. The dealer was allowed to leave. Instead of dividing up the roughly $60,000 at the scene, Griffin says he took the bag home with him while the cop returned to work. Griffin claims he later made arrangements to deliver the cop's share of money, about $8000, to Mesidor.

"I met Jackie in the parking lot of the Burger King on NW Seventh Avenue, you know, right across from the northside [police substation]," Griffin asserts. "I gave her the money. She said, “Damn, I could have done this myself.' I think I probably called her two to three weeks later."

The first scam he allegedly pulled with Mesidor's help was a variation on his theme. He put up a dealer from Atlanta in the Howard Johnson's on Biscayne Boulevard overlooking Bicentennial Park. Griffin met him in the hotel room and convinced the dealer it was safer to store his money in Griffin's car. "When he did that, I beeped Jackie," Griffin says. Mesidor showed up, Griffin claims, and he retrieved the money from his car and left with her. He then reported his car stolen. Police "recovered" it in the hotel's parking lot. In the end Griffin told the dealer an apocryphal tale of an enraged girlfriend who had seen his car at the hotel and believed Griffin was two-timing her. The fictitious girlfriend then supposedly reported the car stolen. "I told him the car was in her name," Griffin says. The next day Griffin told Mesidor to call the dealer in his hotel room, pretend she was with the FBI, and ask questions about the money agents discovered in the car. The frightened dealer fled back to Atlanta.

Another time, Griffin alleges, a dealer from Sarasota came down to do business. Griffin says he briefed Mesidor on what type of car the dealer was driving and says he told her to intercept them in that car at a designated spot near Northwestern High School. She did as instructed, he claims, and pulled Griffin and the dealer over when they drove past. Mesidor, he says, handcuffed both men and put them in the back seat of her cruiser. Then, he adds, she searched the dealer's car and found a duffle bag in the trunk. For the benefit of the dealer, Griffin hammed it up: "I told her to just bring me to jail, it was all my fault." Mesidor allegedly released the Sarasota dealer.

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