Police officer denies asking female driver to punch him in the genitals
35-year-old Thomas Merenda is alleged to have pulled over a car with two female passengers and instructing the driver to punch him in the genitals because he "really enjoys it".
Both he and his colleague, 32-year-old Franklin Hartley, have been charged with the crime of unlawful compensation, which is legally defined as receiving reward in return for failing to perform a public duty. They also face charges of battery.
The pair handed themselves in last week and face prison sentences of around two months if convicted.
Case prosecutors allege that Hartley pulled the women over after observing them leaving a bar and getting into their car. After threatening them with arrest, he ordered them to follow him to a nearby shopping centre car park where they were met by his colleague.
It is alleged that Hartley then went on to have sex with one of the women, at the same time Merenda issued his bizarre request to the driver.
"Officer Merenda asked the victim [name withheld] to punch him in the 'nuts,' meaning genital area," the pair's arrest report says.
It adds that "[Merenda] who at the time of the incident was an on-duty public servant, did intentionally, unlawfully and corruptly request and accept the benefit of having the victim ... strike him in the groin by threatening arrest, citation or seizure."
Detectives investigating the officers found that the GPS tracker on their patrol car suggested that they had been in the car park for an hour and a half. A discarded set of underwear was also found there.
Merenda's lawyer, Eric Schwartzreich, denounced the charges as false, saying: "The only thing that's nuts here is the prosecution of this case and the way it's been filed".
He went on to say: "We look forward to him being vindicated of these outrageous, outlandish and absurd accusations... Unlawful compensation is defined as gaining a benefit or advantage. As a member of the male gender, I can tell you that being struck in the testicles is not a benefit or advantage. Any male can attest to that. He's not into that kind of thing."
The Lauderhill police department merely issued a statement disapproving of the two policemen's actions.
The two women have yet to decide whether to press charges.