Ex-Police Chief Talks About Traffic Stop Of Cop
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FHP & Miami PD Dispute
MIAMI (CBS4) – When Florida Highway Patrol Trooper D.J. Watts saw a marked Miami police car blaze past her earlier this month on the Turnpike in Hollywood, allegedly going more than 120 miles an hour, with no lights on or siren blaring, she rushed to stop him.
Her dashboard camera recorded it all. Her lights were on and sirens were blaring.
Instead of stopping though, Watts said the officer continued to drive recklessly. When he finally pulled over several minutes later, Watts said she approached him with her gun drawn.
“Put your hands out that window right now! Put your hands out the window!” she yelled at the officer, later identified as Miami police officer Fausto Lopez.
She cuffed Lopez and put him in the back of her patrol car.
In the off-camera exchange Lopez can reportedly be heard telling Watts he was rushing to his off-duty job. Watts however wasn’t having it.
“You don’t respect me sir. You don’t respect these people out here. Right now to me, you are a criminal,” Watts allegedly said.
“It’s unusual for one officer to stop another, admittedly,” former Miami Police Chief Ken Harms told CBS4′s Natalia Zea.
Harms said no officer should break traffic laws, unless they are responding to an emergency call and even then they should be careful.
“Just because there’s an off duty police officer, en route to an off duty job doesn’t give him the right to violate Florida statutes. I think the highway patrol officer ought to be commended for her diligence in pursuing this matter,” said Harms.
Despite the apparent high-speed pursuit and the reckless driving, which is offense in which an individual can arrested, Watts only ticketed Lopez for reckless driving and let him drive away.
“The Highway Patrol may not want to pursue it because it involves another police officer and may create some bruised feelings between the agencies, that’s up to the highway patrol,” said Harms.