Criminal Justice

Reader: "Police Who Break the Law Should Get Three Times the Max Penalty"

Jesus "Jessie" Menocal, former Hialeah police officer
Jesus "Jessie" Menocal, former Hialeah police officer Screenshot via WPLG
Police officers are supposed to stop crimes — not commit them. So when an officer finds himself on the other side of the law, the community they are supposed to "protect and serve" becomes especially upset.

That's what happened when at least four women and girls reported that former Hialeah police officer Jesus "Jessie" Menocal assaulted or raped them while taking advantage of his authority as a sergeant. But when the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office declined to prosecute Menocal, the U.S. Department of Justice claimed there were gaps in civil rights law that made it difficult to bring a felony case against him.

In Monday's story, "How a Hialeah Ex-Cop Who Sexually Assaulted Multiple Women Avoided Felony Charges," New Times freelancer Izzy Kapnick detailed how last March, Menocal, the son of a former Sweetwater police chief, pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor federal counts with a maximum sentence of one year apiece. As a result, Menocal got only three years and not decades — or life — in prison.

Menocal's victims were devastated at a punishment they believe didn't fit the crime. New Times readers who weighed in on Facebook didn't think too highly of it, either.

Says James:
"To protect and to serve..." Police protect thier own and serve themselves...
The judicial branch protects and serves cops as well...

Justin replies:
Police who break the law should get 3X the max penalty.

Offers Moji:
Surprise surprise, no justice as usual for them....

Fernando responds:
And then we wonder what is wrong with the Miami and surrounding cities Police Departments. He doesn’t have to even register as a sex offender and obviously doesn’t need to worry about breaking the law. This area needs a citizen panel that will send these guys to a grand jury. Don’t see the governor Governor Ron DeSantis acting on this.

Carlos points out:
The DA is in bed with police that’s why nothing gets done

Adds Manny:
They live by the same rules as gangs do. They even have their own color and flag. Walk like a gang, talks like a gang...they are a gang

Tony writes:
This is an absolute travesty to the criminal justice system. This POS was an officer of the law who took advantage of those women using his authority. He should have received the maximum for each woman he assaulted.
What do you think of Jesus Menocal's three-year sentence? Post a comment or share your thoughts at [email protected].
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Miami New Times staff