MIAMI (CBS4) – New radio transmissions shed light on the exchange between a Florida Highway Patrol trooper and an off-duty City of Miami officer after the officer was pulled over last month for speeding on the turnpike.

Trooper Donna Watts arrested Miami Officer Fausto Lopez early on the morning of October 11th.  Her dashboard camera recorded the Miami officer, in a marked police car, blowing past her and other traffic on the Florida Turnpike like it was standing still.

“I don’t know what agency it is. I’m on 91, almost to Sunrise. He’s well over 120, and he’s not stopping,” said Trooper Watts. “All I can see is a white patrol car with blue or something like that. It would be Miami or DOT, and I’m sure it’s not DOT.”

On the transmission, her supervisor is heard telling Watts that if the car was, in fact, a City of Miami cruiser that she should stand down,

When Watts finally pulled Lopez over, dispatch instructed her to take down the officer’s name and contact information. Instead, Watts is seen on her dashboard camera approaching the cruiser with her gun drawn. Once Lopez exited the cruiser, Watts placed him in handcuffs.

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the union representing Miami officers, slammed the state trooper’s behavior.

She was “completely unprofessional and very reckless,” said Sgt. Javier Ortiz, the FOP vice-president.

Trooper Watts told her superiors she didn’t know who she was dealing with in the pursuit that lasted seven minutes and went twelve miles.  She thought the police car might have been stolen or carjacked, given that it kept going despite her blue lights and siren being on.

The FHP issued a statement supporting its trooper’s actions.

Interim Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa told CBS4’s Gary Nelson on Monday that Officer Lopez did a “dumb” and “knuckle-headed thing,” and will face discipline of some sort when the criminal case against him is resolved.

Lopez remains on regular duty.

Comments (20)
  1. Chet says:

    THAT’S RIGHT-PUNISH HER FOR DOING HER JOB !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. ConcernedCitizen says:

    It’s about damn time. It’s police like him that give others a bad name. My father was an officer of the law for years and he was sworn to uphold the law and be an example by obeying the laws, the south florida area is like a 3rd world country even the cops are corrupt and allowed to break the laws they were sworn to uphold. No wonder no one respects the police. When one kills a motorist on the highway I hope the municipality has alot of money. Shame on you all.

    1. MIguelangel Santimanzano says:

      As a former officer myself, I agree 100% in the arrest of that officer. If he was on an emergency call, thats one thing…but becaue he was late for an off duty assignment, is reckless endangerment of other innocent drivers on the road. He should be fired for having done that. She’s right, the cruiser could have been stolen, she had no way of knowing. I cannot stand officers who abuse their badge and authority like this jerk did driving like that.

  3. bobbyb says:

    If a citizen drove past her at 120 they wouldn’t tell her to “stand down”. They would pull them out and put them on the ground cuffed until back-up came and then off to jail. Now they are trying to make the trooper look bad. This cop needs to be unemployed at the least. Trooper Watts did exactly what she was hired to do – not what the good ‘ol boy bosses do. .. Who can guarantee that Officer Lopez wouldn’t have hit and killed someone had he continued on at 120 mph. I don’t think that this one is going to get covered up so quickly.

    1. abootnkiki says:

      no idea what u r talking about;everyday officers are told by superiors to stand down on chases over traffic violations

  4. maceman says:

    Thank you Trooper Donna Watts, please continue to be “completely unprofessional and very reckless” when ANYONE is driving at 120 mph on the turnpike. If you had not stopped him, and he lost control of his cruiser, its a good bet someone would have lost their life. If Average Joe Citizen did this “dumb” and “knuckle-headed thing” , the “discipline of some sort” would be SERIOUS! How about stopping those Death Wish cycle riders that think the turnpike is their own road racing course

    1. abootnkiki says:

      if she had lost control and run into one of your family members on the road your thoughts would be different; nice that we had 2 reckless officers on the road @ the same time;and they cant stop cycles cause they cant chase cycles thru traffic dummy;unless they get their own cycles;and they dont even have enough troopers let alone enough transportation for the troopers;why not just put up a fhp helicopter to track the reckless drivers until they can be stopped in a safe manner

  5. Yanet says:

    Than you for showing the media what an authority figure’s behavior should be… We need more officers like you in South Florida!!!! You are admirable.

    1. abootnkiki says:

      an authority figure that didnt follow her own superiors orders???lol!!!

  6. tim 3500 says:

    If he would of had his lights and siren going it would of been ok,but she did the right thing.

  7. Buz Bowen says:

    abootnkiki, whats the matter little boy she arrestted your BOY Friend?

    1. abootnkiki says:

      educated and intelligent people cant even stick to their opinions about the story

  8. 1WHOKNOWS says:

    Intimidation ch4 Miami

  9. G4JUSTICE says:

    Bad Cops support Bad Cops Support the Police turn in the Bad Police Give it to all the Media Outlets and YouTube too. When Supervisors support their officers it shows both Good and Bad. Depending on their officers actions and PUBLIC opinion.

  10. Luis bonilla says:

    This investigagtion will vanish in thin air just like any other investigation that involves their own. PATHETIC. No respect towards the police.

  11. jessy says:

    with her fun drawn?? seriously?? who writes this stuff!!!!

  12. Jason Hanson says:

    This is crazy thank you for doing your job trooper. In addition the union boss that is saying your wrong is absurd. This is what is turning people off from union leadership as well. The car could have been stolen or anything good work trooper.

  13. Jaba says:

    The use of deadly force for a speeding offense is unacceptable. She should be jailed for this lack of respect for human life.

    1. Miguel says:

      Hey Jaba….are you an absolute idiot or only a partial one? Trooper Watts did not use deadly force. When a driver speeds at 120 mph, in of itself does not give an officer a reason to think a firearm may be needed during a consequent traffic stop. Things change however when that driver clearly refuses to stop for the police leading them on a high speed chase like this officer did. Being that he failed to stop for a while, she was right to think the driver may continue to resist obeying her commands. She did however, immediately holster her firearm the moment she could see into the car and saw it was an officer in uniform. She did exactly what she had to do to ensure her own safety. No one is above the law, and a private citizen driving 120 on the pike and refusing to stop immediately will almost certainly be ticketed and arrested, in cuffs, and dropped off for processing at TGK. This officer is damn lucky he wasn’t taken into custody and kept there.

  14. Brian says:

    Neither one was right in this case. The trooperwas ordered twice by superiors to handle the situation in a different manner than she did. At no time did the FHP supervisor tell her that the officer would not be punished.

    Police officers are told to stand down in traffic pursuits all the time, especially when you reach speeds of 120mph. The Trooper seems to have a bit of the “don’t step on Superman’s cape” syndrome going on about other departments “disrespecting” her. If she really thought the vehicle was stolen, she also put herself in danger and didn’t follow procedures by not requesting additional back up. If that vehicle had really been stolen, there’s a good chance there would be a heavily armed suspect in the vehicle.

    Now to the Miami PD officer, he should at least be having a long suspension and vehicle privelages suspended, he was acting like an idiot. It’s also a shame how some officers and troopers are acting towards each other and giving the media a reason for keeping this alive.

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