A former Miami Beach police sergeant was arrested on a domestic violence charge.
A Miami Beach police sergeant who retired earlier this year and was serving as a reserve officer was arrested Thursday on domestic violence charges.
Jeffrey Motola, 49, was arrested by Miami police and charged with domestic battery by strangulation, a third-degree felony, as well as misdemeanor charges of battery and assault.
Miami Beach police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez told the Miami Herald that Motola has been removed from the department’s reserve officer program as a result of his arrest.
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The charges relate to an alleged incident in October 2021, in which Motola’s ex-girlfriend says Motola grabbed her by the neck and dragged her across their apartment during an argument. According to a police report, Motola then “put the victim on the couch and continued to choke her by the neck,” impeding her breathing.
The argument became physical after the alleged victim “broke a candle against the wall,” the report says.
The police report says the woman claimed that Motola has verbally threatened her since they broke up. Those alleged threats include: “I’ll shoot you between the eyes”; “I should slit your throat like a pig”; and, “You’re lucky I haven’t killed your a**.”
Motola could not be reached for comment.
An attorney representing Motola, state Rep. Michael Grieco, did not comment specifically on the allegations in a statement.
“In addition to being a dear friend of mine and the Miami Beach community, Sgt. Motola is a highly decorated super cop, and all that we ask is that judgment be reserved until all the facts come out, especially on an accusation that was reported a year after the fact,” Grieco said.
The report, dated Thursday, says the woman walked into the Miami police department to report the past incident, though it does not specify when she did so. Miami police spokesperson Officer Kenya Fallat told the Herald the woman reported the incident on Wednesday. Fallat said she could not discuss any other details of the case or why the woman decided to file a report more than a year after the incident.
Miami police located Motola and took him into custody Thursday around 5 pm
Online Miami-Dade Corrections records show Motola was booked with bond set at $7,500. Representatives for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to an inquiry about whether Motola has posted bond.
Motola retired from the Miami Beach police department in February after 25 years on the job, according to a WSVN report about his retirement ceremony.
A LinkedIn page says he is now a firearms instructor and does “personal body guard work.”
In 2019, Motola was praised for confronting a gunman near North Beach Elementary School, drawing his gun and talking the gunman down until he put his handgun away.
In 2016, he received an award for helping prevent a woman from jumping off a seven-story building, according to the Miami Beach police department’s Facebook page.
Motola worked for the Surfside police department before coming to Miami Beach.
The Herald has requested a copy of Motola’s complete personnel file.
A criminal history search did not show any prior domestic violence charges or other past criminal charges against Motola in Florida.
This story was updated on Nov. 10, 2022, to include a statement from Jeffrey Motola’s attorney, State Rep. Michael Grieco.
This story was originally published Nov 4, 2022 11:28 AM.
Aaron Leibowitz covers the city of Miami Beach for the Miami Herald. He was previously a municipal government reporter covering cities around Miami-Dade County.