FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – It was a stunning outcome to the trial of three Ft. Lauderdale police officers who were accused of lying to investigators about a car chase and crash.
After deliberating for four-and-a-half hours Tuesday, the jury deadlocked on most of the charges.
They reached a “hung jury” on all of the charges against Sgt. Michael Florenco.
But while they deadlocked on most of the charges against detectives Matthew Moceri and Jeffrey Shaffer. the two were acquitted on the more serious charges of official misconduct.
The case dates back to 2009 when the officers responded to an incident at the Hilton Marina.
Kenneth Post was caught on surveillance stealing liquor from the Tiki Bar and then backing out of the parking lot and clipping security in a golf cart.
He fled and the three officers were involved in a pursuit.
During the chase, the front of their unmarked car was smashed.
They claimed that Post was responsible.
But a crash expert hired by the police department determined that the officers had wrecked the car elsewhere. Prosecutors claimed they lied to cover up the accident.
“You can’t break the law to catch a lawbreaker,” prosecutor Stefanie Newman told the jury.
But in closing arguments, attorney Howard Greitzer who represented Sgt. Florenco told the jury that “they’re doing their jobs and here they sit as defendants they should be given a commendation.”
After the verdict was read, Judge Cynthia Imperato said she would rule Wednesday morning on the defense motion for a mistrial because of controversial statements prosecutors made in their closing arguments.