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SWEETWATER (CBSMiami) — The mayor of Sweetwater now must determine whether to terminate a police lieutenant accused of covering-up a crash involving a police officer.
Mayor Orlando Lopez says he has 14 days to make a decision on the fate of Lt. Rafael Castro.
A CBS4 News investigation found Castro allegedly knew about the red light camera video showing the crash but did nothing.
The video shows Officer Alejandro Ramos speeding through a red light in February 2015, on his way to an emergency call, causing a crash.
But Officer Ramos’ statement to FHP investigators said he stopped at the light and proceeded using due care.
That statement led to the driver of the pick-up truck involved in the crash being ticketed.
When CBS4 started asking questions last summer, the police chief launched an investigation, which ended with Ofc. Ramos’ arrest on a charge of official misconduct for allegedly falsifying an official statement.
As we kept digging, we uncovered a written reprimand showing Castro was aware of the video’s existence and the circumstances of the crash, but did not take any sort of action.
After his hearing Friday, Lt. Castro and his attorney declined to comment.
But Mayor Lopez and Chief Diaz had plenty to say.
“This was not an isolated incident. This was a conspiracy almost that everyone knew of the cover-up or at least those involved,” Mayor Lopez said.
“It’s a sad day when we have an officer lie and get substantiated in lying and still wears a badge,” Chief Diaz told CBS 4’s Lauren Pastrana. “You become ineffective as a witness, in my opinion, and ineffective as a police officer.”
Cameras were not allowed inside the hearing but the Chief and the Mayor say Castro’s attorney brought up his “stellar record.”
CBS4 has reviewed his personnel file and found several written reprimands, including at least two for perjury.