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Sunday, May 26, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Holding City Liable for Dirty Cop Proves Difficult

MIAMI (CN) - The widow of a bank security guard killed in a robbery can amend her claims against city that employed a dirty cop who helped protect the thief, a federal judge ruled.

Nathaniel Moss, 34, is reportedly serving life in prison for the 2010 attempted robbery of an armored truck outside a Bank of America in Miramar, Fla., that left Brink's guard Alejandro Nodarse Arencibia dead.

Police had found Moss hiding in the bushes after the robbery went south and his accomplices fled, the Sun Sentinel reported. The Miami Gardens man had been given a plea deal that kept him off death row after helping police lock up several of accomplices and members of the drug-trafficking ring to which he belonged.

Moss also helped take down Arthur "Art" Balom, who had been a captain with the police department in Opa-locka. Balom, now 46, admitted to helping the traffickers evade authorities and selling them bulletproof vests stolen from his department.

Authorities found Moss wearing one such vest after the robbery.

Arencibia's widow, Maria Semana Sanchez, is suing the city of Opa-locka among others for negligence related to her husband's murder.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge James King dismissed the claims against Opa-locka for negligent retention and violation of Section 1983 of federal law by operating "in an unscrupulous manner that invited mayhem and disorder often turning a blind eye to improper and illegal activities committed by its officers of an employee."

These claims fail because Sanchez failed to that the city owed her a particular duty and that it knew about Balom's "harmful propensities."

"The only allegation is that bank robber who shot Arencibia wore a vest stolen by the police officer," King wrote. "This is too attenuated from defendant city of Opa-locka's employment of the police officer."

Moreover, even if the city knew about Capt. Balom's criminal activity, there is still no allegation of a violent propensity.

Sanchez also failed to support her claim about the city's alleged mismanagement.

"The facts alleged in plaintiff's amended complaint are simply too skeletal," King wrote.

Sanchez nevertheless has 30 days to file a second amended complaint.

The ruling does not describe the state of Sanchez's other claims against Brink's, Bank of America, Bilnia Inc., Gil Leaseholds and a John Doe.

Balom is not a party to the action.

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