Miami-Dade cop Fernando Villa had problems long before his DUI

On December 6, a Miami-Dade cop named Fernando Villa made national headlines by passing out drunk behind the wheel of his squad car, naked but for a pair of cargo shorts, with only his drunken foot preventing the vehicle from rolling into a busy West Kendall intersection.

The 32-year-old officer has been charged and suspended, but Riptide decided to dig deeper into his police file. What we found is scary: eight internal investigations, some with disturbing allegations.

The most serious allegation dates back to October 2007. Villa's sister, Mercy Fiallo, claimed the cop headbutted and choked her during an argument at her house in Oviedo. "Fuck you, bitch. I feel like killing you," Villa supposedly told her. Villa denied hitting or threatening her, and Fiallo's complaint was not sustained.

Two years later, Villa was one of three cops in black, unmarked cars to spot Delroy Hibbert allegedly smoking a joint in Opa-locka. According to police, Hibbert fell while trying to flee over a fence. But Hibbert told investigators that Villa had kicked and elbowed him in his head so hard that he "defecated in his pants." Both Hibbert's mother and a neighbor said they saw cops hitting him, but his complaint was also dropped.

This past September 10, Villa and another officer were patrolling Kendall when they stopped 22-year-old Gilberto Powell. According to reports, Villa "observed a bulge in the area of Mr. Powell's waistband" and ordered a pat-down. But Powell became "combative" and tried to get away. As he and Villa scuffled, Powell hit his head on the pavement. Then Villa struck him in the face and handcuffed him. Not until Powell's father arrived did cops realize the young man had Down syndrome and the "bulge" at his waist was a colostomy bag.

Then there is Villa's role in two deadly police-involved shootings this year. As a member of a heavily armed special team, Villa was present April 19 when cops shot and killed Durrall Miller. Miller was wanted for firing at police several days earlier, but he was unarmed when shot.

And June 30, Villa was one of 11 officers to open fire during a raid in the Redland. The flurry of bullets killed three robbery suspects and Rosendo Betancourt, a cooperating defendant. He had tipped off the cops to the crime ring but ended up with two bullets in his head.

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Michael E. Miller was a staff writer at Miami New Times for five years. His work for New Times won many national awards, including back-to-back-to-back Sigma Delta Chi medallions. He now covers local enterprise for the Washington Post.