News reports about police behaving badly are becoming more common these days. It’s gotten to the point where some of us see a headline and think “same story, different criminal cop.”
But some bad cops are, well, just SO bad that even those of us who are used to hearing about police brutality are shocked by their actions.
Here’s one of those cases.
From The Palm Beach Post:
A Boynton Beach police officer raped a 20-year old woman at gunpoint on the hood of his marked police car, according to a police report.
Officer Stephen Maiorino, 35, was charged with armed sexual battery, armed kidnapping and unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior Thursday by the state attorney’s office. Maiorino was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail, according to jail records.
The details of this incident are alarming.
Sun Sentinel reports:
The alleged incident happened Oct. 15. The woman had been left stranded in Boynton after the driver of a car she was riding in was arrested on a DUI charge. The driver’s car was towed.
And at some point, Maiorino drove to where she was stranded to take her to the police station, where she expected to be picked up by relatives, according to a police affidavit.
Once at the department, she tried to get out of the car, but Maiorino grabbed her by the wrist and demanded she perform oral sex on him, she told investigators. He told her that if she didn’t comply, she would face a DUI arrest herself, the affidavit said.
She told investigators she complied out of fear. But it didn’t end there, according to the affidavit.
Maiorino then drove the victim to an abandoned field about 20 blocks north of the police station.
What she says he did next is even more heinous:
There, she was forced to strip down and was held face down on the hood of a police-marked vehicle, the affidavit said. His right hand held her down during the sexual assault, the report said.
She told investigators she could see the gun in his left hand. Later, when the woman got dressed, Maiorino pointed a gun at her and told her he would kill her and her family if she told anyone, the police report said.
How nice. Because rape isn’t humiliating and degrading enough, Maiorino made his victim strip outside in a field.
Thankfully, the young woman didn’t let this disgusting thug’s threat of retaliation stop her from turning him in. Six hours after the incident, she contacted authorities. She took them to the crime scene, where a condom wrapper and a condom were found. On Monday, preliminary test results found the woman’s DNA on both items – and on Maiorino’s underwear
During their investigation, police reviewed radio communications from the night of the incident:
Over the radio in his car, officers asked where he and the woman were: They said the woman’s family was at the station waiting to take the 20-year-old home. According to radio logs from that day, almost an hour had passed since he made the initial contact with dispatch that he was on his way to drop the woman off to wait for her family.
Police Chief Jeffrey Katz said of the investigation’s findings:
“Quite frankly, we are angry that any individual would squander the good will we have worked so hard to build within our community.
I would like to say that I am both disturbed and disgusted by the nature of the complaint, the findings of the investigation, and indeed the very prospect that a law enforcement officer … could possibly exploit this trust in such a vile and inexcusable way.”
Sentinel Sun reported that, at a brief news conference at the police station, Katz referred to Maiorino as a “rogue officer.”
“This is a dark day in the history of our department,” the chief said.
Other officers have expressed shock over Maiorino’s actions:
“We honestly just can’t comprehend that a cop would do that kind of stuff,” a source close to the investigation said.
The source described Maiorino as a “very genuine” and friendly person.
“(He’s) one of those guys that had a big heart,” the source said. “He’d probably do anything for you.”
But was Maiorino a good guy?
Usually there are signs of trouble before something big like this happens. But, people tend to shrug off warning signs. It is human nature.
And, in Maiorino’s case, it looks like there were significant red flags that were ignored.
From The Palm Beach Post:
Maiorino has been disciplined at least 11 times, two of those times resulting in suspension. Incidents ranged anywhere from crashing his cruiser to times he would be missing for hours on duty, sometimes with suspects he was transporting to the jail.
In 2012, he was suspended for a day after he left a prisoner unattended in his patrol car while he chased a vehicle associated with a bank robbery. In 2013, he was disciplined again for going missing for more than an hour on duty. He told officers he was seeing an Army buddy. Before joining Boynton Beach Police in 2006, Maiorino served in the Army twice, once in 2002 and then again in 2004 in Fort Drum, N.Y. He was honorably discharged and remains in the Army Reserve, according to his files.
Though the investigator recommended he be given two days suspension for the 2013 incident because of the similar 2012 incident, he was given a written discipline instead. His file offers no explanation why the latter was chosen.
In 2012, Maiorino was cited for not patting down a woman who was being taken into custody on disorderly intoxication charges. When another officer searched the woman, they found a pair of yellow handcuffs in the woman’s bra. She told the booking officer she took them off during the car ride and that Maiorino knew she didn’t have them on.
The officer put the handcuffs on a counter. Maiorino saw them and said: “Oh, you found them,” according to the report.
When confronted, Maiorino told the officer he didn’t pat down the suspect so a female officer could do so instead. The officer said Maiorino should have patted the woman down because she could have harmed one of her cellmates or another officer. He received a written discipline for the incident.
Maiorino also received a two-day suspension in 2011 for unsatisfactory performance and mishandling evidence.
In 2012, a citizen called police to say they noticed a police car had been parked for hours at an apartment complex. But the police noted that Maiorino had not been called out to the area. The officer explained he was at his brother’s apartment and apologized.
“Rogue officer,” indeed.
Oh, there’s also this:
Questions of mental issues were raised in court Friday morning when his attorney asked for a mental health evaluation so he could stay on medication he was currently taking.
Boynton Beach Police spokeswoman Stephanie Slater said there are no prescription medications listed in Maiorino’s file. If he was prescribed any drugs, he was required to report it to the department.
How is it that Chief Katz and some of Maiorino’s fellow officers are acting so surprised that this happened?
On the Boynton Beach Police Department Facebook page, Chief Katz posted a statement that included the following:
A preliminary investigation of these allegations – which has included interviews, the examination of physical evidence, as well as some initial DNA testing – has lead our investigative team to establish a probable cause belief that Maiorino has indeed violated several criminal statutes including armed sexual battery, armed kidnapping, and unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior.
Maiorino, thankfully, is in jail without bail.
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