FIU places police chief on leave amid allegations of groping and inappropriate behavior

Amid public concern about possible groping and inappropriate behavior, Alexander Casas, the police chief at Florida International University, was placed on leave, said Maydel Santana, a university spokeswoman, Friday.

“FIU does not comment on personnel matters; therefore, no further details are available at this time regarding Chief Casas,” Santana wrote in an email Friday morning responding to a Herald inquiry about the issue.

Another FIU spokeswoman, Dianne Fernandez, said she couldn’t say why Casas was put on leave, when or for how long the leave is expected to last due to “human resources rules.”

It’s unclear if the administration announced the news to the university community.

FIU Police Chief Alexander Casas
FIU Police Chief Alexander Casas

But in recent weeks, accusations have surfaced regarding his conduct.

An Instagram account called first posted two videos on April 17 that show Casas appearing to touch two people in the buttocks while posing for photos. The account also shared an anonymous letter that accuses Casas of “poor behavior,” including inappropriately groping employees as an effort to prank them “on multiple occasions.”

On April 18, WSVN 7 News reported receiving complaints related to the videos, which the news channel reported were recorded during an awards ceremony earlier this year.

Neither Santana nor Fernandez told the Herald if FIU officials are aware of the complaints on social media and the WSVN reportregarding Casas.

Casas didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from the Herald sent via email.

FIU police chief, Alexander Casas (left), with former FIU president, Mark Rosenberg, at a 2018 press conference.
FIU police chief, Alexander Casas (left), with former FIU president, Mark Rosenberg, at a 2018 press conference.

Casas makes $243,024, according to Fernandez. It’s unclear if he will get paid during his leave.

He has been at FIU since 2011, according to his LinkedIn page. Before that, he worked for the Miami-Dade Police Department from 1990 to 2011.

Santana didn’t say which university official put Alexander Casas on leave. But the chief reports to Javier I. Marques, the vice president for operations and safety and chief of staff at FIU.

In the interim, Major James Mesidor has been appointed acting chief of FIUPD while Chief Casas is on leave, Santana said.

Major Mesidor joined FIU on April 2021 after retiring from the City of North Miami Police Department, after more than 27 years there, Fernandez said.

Mesidor made $125,000. And that was temporarily increased to $146,250 while he’s acting chief, Fernandez said.