Updated:ORLANDO, Fla.,None — Orlando's police chief told Eyewitness News, if the officer arrested for allegedly groping a new mother outside a music venue is found guilty, he'll be fired. Officer Brandon Loverde bonded out of jail (raw video | images) on the charges Thursday (warrant affidavit).
Eyewitness News was the only station there when Loverde turned himself in at the Orange County jail (watch video) just after 8:30am Thursday. Reporter Kathi Belich attempted to talk to him, but he had no comment. He was handcuffed while waiting for his fingerprints to be cleared through Orange County Corrections and then released on the $5,500 bond.
The arrest affidavit says Officer Loverde told the woman to walk over to a parking lot across the street from Firestone Live on Orange Avenue in downtown Orlando (see map). Security video, the report says, shows her sitting down between cars, just as she said the officer told her to do.
What the nursing mother says happened after that is so disturbing the police chief didn't want to talk about it.
Three-year Orlando police officer Brandon Loverde walked out of the Orange County jail Thursday morning without saying a word. He's out on $5,500 bond facing felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor battery charges and is on paid leave.
According to the police report, the security video from a business across the street from Firestone Live, where Loverde was working off-duty on December 14, shows him leading the alleged victim, 21-year-old Rachelle Cortez, into the parking lot; it shows her sitting down between cars, and it shows a glove on Officer Loverde's hand.
Police say the video corroborates her story, but does not show the entire incident.
The young mother, who told police she is nursing her children, says Officer Loverde put on the blue glove, put his hand under her shirt and squeezed her breast and made a crass comment. When her sister and friends came looking for her, they say Officer Loverde told them he had no idea who or where she was, but she heard them and ran to them.
"If the evidence supports the fact that he actually committed the offense and the courts say he did, then we will definitely take the appropriate action and, when you look at the charges, that action for me would be termination," Orlando Police Chief Val Demings said.
WFTV has been told Officer Loverde claims he was writing a trespass warning against the woman on behalf of Firestone Live. Firestone Live says he's lying.
"Apparently the officer is making a statement that she was drinking under age and he was trespassing her and that is just a false statement by the officer," Firestone Live owner Jan Harrold said.
Firestone Live also said it needed Officer Loverde twice that night to handle situations, couldn't find him and had to call other Orlando officers to the club to deal with the problems. Even so, he was paid $40 an hour for his work that night.