MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Florida Highway Patrol trooper who pulled over a Miami police officer who was driving more than 120 mph on the Florida Turnpike last October did not violate any department policies.
On Wednesday the FHP issued its report on the incident which concluded trooper Donna Watts used her “judgment” when she pulled officer Fausto Lopez over, drew her gun on him, placed him in handcuffs and charged him with reckless driving, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
The incident, which was caught on Watts’ dash cam, made headlines across the country and sparked what some termed an unofficial rift between the agencies.
In the report, Watts was cited for disobeying an order from her supervisor to “back off” during her pursuit of Lopez on the Turnpike. Watts did slow down but after she caught up with Lopez, she turned on her emergency lights when he accelerated again.
In a statement, Watts said she believed the driver was intentionally not stopping for her, was driving recklessly and the car could have been stolen.
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.
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.
FHP spokesman Captain Mark Brown said Watts will not be disciplined for her actions.
“There may be some things we can do better, but that will be handled through coaching and counseling,” he told the paper.
Lopez said he was hurrying because he was a late for a moonlighting job – an off duty gig – in Hollywood.
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