Radar Love on the Miami-Dade PD
What if the guy investigating bad cops broke the rules?
Miami-Dade Police Maj. Donald Rifkin recently lost his job overseeing internal affairs probes into county cops accused of misconduct. Seems he was hitting on a fellow cop, Carmen Pichardo, using sensitive information about her ex as bait.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Carmen and Richard Pichardo — who were divorced — filed restraining orders against each other in 2008. He was chief of the county police's Cutler Bay district; she was a major.
Rifkin was investigating the couple on several matters. Carmen Pichardo says he invited her to lunch last March 23 at Café Italia in Hollywood. After they sat down, without being asked, Rifkin brought up two cases. One involved allegations of domestic violence against her ex. The other claimed he used steroids. (Neither case has been concluded.)
After that lunch, Pichardo said, "Rifkin walked her to her car and hugged her really tight, squeezing her breasts," according to the FDLE report.
Four months later, Rifkin again met Pichardo at a Hollywood eatery. This time, he handed over an email from her ex accusing her of abusing their son. Then, she claims, Rifkin became "aggressive with his text messages." A July 30 missive asked her to take a day off "so he could come over and rub her neck and feet." Five days later, Rifkin mailed Pichardo a greeting card that read, "I may not completely understand all you're going through, Carmen... but I want you to know I do understand a little, and I care a lot. Love, Donald."
Rifkin denies meeting with Pichardo but acknowledges texting her and sending the greeting card. He admits violating department policy, noting "I used poor judgment on a number of occasions when I discussed her open cases with her."
Though public corruption prosecutor Joe Centorino declined to criminally charge anyone in the scandal this past October 30, Rifkin was demoted to captain and reassigned to another bureau. Pichardo was busted down to lieutenant; her ex retired last April.
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