Prosecutor resigns from women’s group after officer’s arrest

December 20, 2019 GMT

MIAMI (AP) — An assistant state attorney who chose not to bring charges against a South Florida police officer indicted by federal prosecutors on similar charges has stepped down as chair of a prominent women’s rights group.

Johnette Hardiman submitted her resignation Thursday to The Women’s Fund Miami-Dade because of repercussions over her handling of a 2016 investigation into Hialeah police Sgt. Jesus Menocal Jr., the Miami Herald reported.

“She thought it would be in the best interest of the organization to step down,” Kathy Andersen, executive director of the Women’s Fund, told the Miami Herald.

A federal grand jury in Miami charged Hialeah police officer Jesus Manuel Menocal Jr., 32, with depriving two women of their civil rights. The FBI arrested him Dec. 13 while he was on duty.

Hardiman’s handling of the case came under scrutiny after the Herald reported she had not interviewed three of Menocal’s alleged victims before dismissing them as lacking credibility.

In a memo dropping the state attorney’s investigation into the officer, Hardiman referred to the women as “gang members,” the newspaper reported.

Menocal, 32, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday. Hialeah police fire him after his arrest. An attorney for him wasn’t listed on court records.