MIAMI (CBSMiami) – New police body camera video obtained exclusively by CBS4 shows what could have been a deadly encounter between two South Miami police officers and a driver who refused to stop her car, striking both of them.
Police said the suspect was fleeing a doctor’s office where she and a friend had gone to get a consultation about plastic surgery.
Police said an employee at the office had called them about the suspect because she was trying to use a suspicious credit card and had cheated the business in the past.
In the dramatic and stunning body cam video, you hear both officers yelling, “Stop the car! Stop the car! Stop the car! Get out of the car! Get out of the car!”
The video also shows a bullet hole in the woman’s car from a previous incident.
She is also seen putting her hands up as if to surrender, but then she drives away and bumps the officers.
The officers are not injured, but police said they were fortunate, adding the officers showed a great deal of restraint in not firing their weapons.
“You’re responding to a call which is a fraud investigation at a doctor’s office,” said South Miami Police Capt. Larry Corbin.
The South Miami Police Department has put out a flyer about the suspect, 27-year-old Paula Johnson of Northwest Miami-Dade, who has been arrested several times in the past on charges including grand theft, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief and throwing a deadly missile, according to police.
The friend who she was with was initially taken into custody and then released without being charged.
Corbin told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “You don’t think something like this is going to happen. It just shows you that a simple call can turn into something where you are forced to make a split second decision.
“It’s not like we were investigating a homicide or did not know what type of crime was being committed. For her to take this action it not only endangered her life but it endangered the lives of the police officers and also other drivers around Sunset Drive after she took off and fled in her car on Tuesday afternoon.
The body cam video also captures Johnson inside ResultsMD Plastic Surgery at 7231 SW 63rd Avenue at 2:50 p.m. on Tuesday. She is seen walking around the offices in a patient gown.
Dr. Jose M. Soler-Baillo, a plastic surgeon, said, “She actually came into the office 2 years ago and we had an issue and ended up losing $12,000. It involved a problem with a credit card used for cosmetic procedures.”
He said one of his employees noticed that there had been problems with her in the past and police said another employee noticed something suspicious about the credit card she was using.
As officers were gathering details, Johnson fled the office wearing a patient gown.
The body cam video shows officers rushing out of the building to stop. You hear one of the officers saying, “She’s getting in the car.”
Dr. Soler-Baillo said, “I call this the price of beauty. It is the pressure of people wanting to look good. If they don’t have the funds to do it they commit the crimes for the procedure. It is unfortunate because now what was a case of fraud has turned into a big deal.”
South Miami police are searching for Johnson.
She was driving a 2014 grey Mercedes CLA250 with a Florida license tag of EYFU26. She fled the area eastbound on SW 72nd Street and then possibly northbound on SW 52nd Avenue.
Police said she “possibly frequents” the Lincoln Field Projects in Miami.
If arrested, she could now face a series of charges from fleeing and eluding to battery on law enforcement officers.
Anyone who has seen her should call South Miami Police or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).