PLANTATION (CBS4) – A Broward Sheriff’s deputy is under investigation and on administrative leave because of an apparent confrontation with a driver.
The driver is a Hispanic woman who told police the deputy made racial slurs, gave her the finger and stole her cellphone and ID.
The incident unfolded on Monday just after 12 o’clock.
The driver — Neyda Osorio — told Plantation Police that she was driving her Ford F-150 truck out of a shopping center on 441 near Broward Boulevard and was headed westbound just before the incident.
She made a u-turn and started heading east on Broward Boulevard. Osorio told police that at that point a passenger in her truck noticed a deputy trying to get her attention.
One of Osorio’s attorneys, Edward McGee, described what Osorio heard the deputy saying.
“The officer made ethnic slurs about her Hispanic heritage and told her essentially to go back where she came from,” McGee told CBS 4’s Carey Codd.
Osorio told police Pletcher then pulled her over. She was concerned about the incident and asked the passenger to began recording Pletcher on Osorio’s Blackberry cellphone.
According to a Plantation Police search warrant, Osorio said Pletcher “repeatedly demanded they give him the phone stating they would be placed under arrest if they did not turn it over.”
Osorio claims Pletcher restrained her by reaching into her truck and grabbing the cellphone out of her purse.
She said there was a struggle and her wrist was injured.
Osorio also said she handed Pletcher her driver’s license and green card. The search warrant said Pletcher looked at the green card and “then threw it at her striking her in the face area.”
At that point, Osorio said Pletcher told her to drive into a bank parking lot. The warrant says Pletcher drove away with Osorio’s cellphone and driver’s license.
A security guard at the bank told CBS 4 that Osorio came up to him and related the story, asking him to call 911 for her, which he did.
Plantation Police responded and searched the area. The search warrant shows that they found Osorio’s phone in two pieces, put it together and the video was downloaded at BSO.
The warrant shows that two of Pletcher’s former supervisor’s at BSO identified him in the video.
Osorio said she is still shocked over the incident.
“I never believed a police officer would act in this way,” she said, as translated by another of her attorneys, Paul Finizio.
The search warrant is for Pletcher’s marked BSO vehicle. The warrant says that Osorio’s driver’s license has not been recovered. It is not clear if the vehicle was searched and what, if anything, was recovered.
The warrant also says “Pletcher was not on duty during the time of this incident and there is no indication of any radio contact with B.S.O. dispatch” during the traffic stop.
We were not able to reach Pletcher for a comment but his attorney told us he believes his client will be cleared.
“There are two sides to every story,” Eric Schwartzreich said. “He didn’t do anything wrong and when the smoke clears, he will be exonerated of any wrongdoing.”
According to BSO, Pletcher began working for the agency in 2004. He is a patrol deputy in Pompano Beach. His attorney confirmed that in 2007 Pletcher was involved in a fatal traffic crash in Pompano Beach.
A man on a motorbike died when he collided with a BSO vehicle driven by Pletcher. Pletcher was investigated and cleared of wrongdoing.
One of Osorio’s attorneys, Edward McGee, said this case shows why it is important for citizens to use their cellphones if they believe someone in authority is misusing their power.
“If you see a public official doing something that you think is wrong, don’t be afraid to use your technology,” McGee said. “Use your cellphone to preserve that evidence. Without it, too many times, (it’s as if it) didn’t happen.”
Neyda Osorio remains distraught over what happened and says what occurred should not happen again.
“That are no more people like him in the streets doing what he did to me to other people,” she said, through attorney Finizio.
A BSO spokesperson would not comment on the case, saying there is an open internal affairs investigation into the matter.
No charges have been filed at this point against Pletcher and Plantation Police are also investigating.
The video of the incident has not been released by Plantation Police.