To serve (up a line) and protect (his ability to score)?
A now-former Florida cop recently resigned over allegations that he used the department’s database to get dates and have sex with nearly 150 women over the course of the past six years, according to an internal affairs investigation.
During a news conference on Thursday, Bradenton Police Department Chief Melanie Bevan said that 36-year-old Leonel Marines consistently misused his badge and the sacrosanct information contained in the police database for his own selfish ends.
“Unfortunately, we have discovered an employee–who has since resigned–who betrayed the trust of this department and the citizens of Bradenton and who failed to uphold the standards that I strictly enforce,” Bevans noted.
The investigation was spurred by a citizen complaint filed against Marines in June of last year. According to Bevans, “a chance, brief encounter” in a parking lot led Marines to follow a young woman home. Marines later allegedly came knocking and asked to speak with the woman “about a domestic matter.” The girls parents, however, understood that there was no domestic issue and refused the officer entry.
Marines apparently persisted in his efforts and kept pushing to speak with the couple’s daughter, according to the citizen complaint. He eventually left, but the parents quickly called the police, got Marines’ name and then filed their complaint.
When confronted about the incident, Marines told the watch commander that he followed the woman to her residence because she had a tail light that was out and he “believed her to be impaired.”
The discrepancies between the stories, Bevan said, lead to an increasing number of audits which showed “a very, very clear trend of focusing on female versus male names” when ostensibly looking into subjects and persons for open and active cases.
At first, the department benched the 12-year veteran and put him on desk duty. That slap on the wrist, however, didn’t last very long.
“As the investigation continued and the egregious nature of his actions became more and more apparent, he was ultimately placed on administrative leave without pay and stripped of his badge, guns and uniforms,” Bevan continued. “On October 30th, 2018, Marines resigned. Our investigation, however, continued.”
According to Bevan, Marines conducted “several hundred questionable database queries of women” during a time-frame that gave investigators the ability to interview the women searched by the former officer. Those queries later led investigators to locate and interview almost 150 women who detailed their interactions with Marines–a smaller subset reported being repeatedly harassed by the officer.
Bevan laid it all out near the end of the press conference:
Leonel Marines was not utilizing this data for law enforcement purposes whatsoever. Instead, he was using it in a variety of ways–via social media, cold telephone calls, visits to their homes under the guise of being there for police business, you name it, to try and get dates with these women. And he was very persistent, and successful at times, in his efforts to do so.
Five investigators worked on the internal affairs effort and found “numerous administrative violations” running the gamut from records and security policy violations, misuse of information and sex on duty.
“Had he not resigned, he would have been fired,” Bevans confirmed.
The chief of police also noted that there is currently an open criminal investigation that’s being run by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
He “cast a dark shadow on our law enforcement profession,” she said.
[image via screengrab/Bradenton Police Department]