Coral Gables cop, accused of domestic violence, arrested again for battery

A Coral Gables police officer who was relieved of duty in June after a domestic violence allegation was arrested again on a battery charge Wednesday night, police said.

Manny Rivero, 39, was arrested by Miami-Dade police at his home in southwest Dade and charged with battery against someone in his household, Coral Gables police spokeswoman Kelly Denham said. He was booked in jail and held in Miami-Dade Corrections custody overnight, according to spokesman Juan Diasgranados.

Rivero, a 17-year veteran on the Coral Gables force, had been relieved of duty in June after he was arrested in another domestic violence incident at a South Miami mall, police said at the time. That incident triggered an ongoing criminal investigation led by South Miami police and the Miami-Dade County state attorney’s office, as well as an internal Gables investigation into Rivero’s use of a marked police car, which he had allegedly used to leave the scene.

Rivero, a Coral Gables detective, had largely received positive performance reviews since he joined the police force in 1999 and received occasional commendations. But the officer has had a history of domestic disputes, reflected in his internal affairs file. In April 2016, police arrested and charged Rivero with one count of misdemeanor battery and one count of domestic battery by strangulation, a third degree felony.

His wife Danielle had called police after the couple got into an argument, according to an arrest form at the time. While standing in the master bedroom, Rivero grabbed her by the throat and caused her face to hit a door frame. Rivero then grabbed his wife by the throat and pushed her into a walk-in closet, according to the report.

Rivero was relieved of duty after the charges were filed, and the state attorney’s office launched an investigation. But in a letter filed less than two weeks later, Danielle Rivero asked that a restraining order be lifted and recanted her statement to prosecutors.

“He is a good father and his daughters need his presence in their lives,” she wrote in a letter asking that Rivero be allowed to resume contact with them. “He is not a danger to me.”

The state attorney’s office eventually declined to prosecute the case almost a year after the arrest, writing “Without the victim’s cooperation this case cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Rivero was reinstated after the SAO investigation was closed, according to his internal affairs file. The police department’s internal investigation, however, was sustained, and Rivero was removed from the department’s crisis negotiating team. He was also reassigned to the uniform patrol division and ordered to undergo mandatory counseling.

Denham said Thursday morning that Coral Gables police chief Edward J. Hudak Jr. was “made aware immediately after” Rivero’s arrest Wednesday. He is evaluating a possible change in Rivero’s status with the department, she said. Rivero has been on leave with pay since being relieved of duty in June, per administrative policy.

Rivero was expected to appear in bond court at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

Staff writer Lance Dixon contributed to this report.