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Video: Miami Cop Detained for Driving 120 mph

October 30, 2011  | 

VIDEO: Fla. Trooper Arrests Miami Cop at Gunpoint

A Florida Highway Patrol trooper chased down off-duty Miami Police Officer Fausto Lopez and detained him at gunpoint, after clocking him driving 120 mph in his cruiser, reports the Miami Herald.

Trooper D.J. Watts chased Officer Lopez on Florida's Turnpike in Broward County, after observing him make several unsafe lane changes. Officer Lopez slowed down to 72 mph, and then sped up, eventually pulling over for the trooper.

Trooper Watts is seen approaching the vehicle, drawing her weapon and ordering Officer Lopez out of the vehicle at gunpoint. The trooper then placed him in handcuffs. He was eventually cited and released.

Trooper Watts came to the conclusion that Officer Lopez wasn't responding to a call because his lights and sirens weren't activated, and considered that the cruiser may have been stolen, Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Mark Wysocky tells POLICE Magazine.

"She wrote in her incident report [that] based on his driving pattern she didn't know what she had," Sgt. Wysocky said. "Considering he was way out of his city by several miles. If you're going to a call, you're probably going to put on some lights and sirens."

Officer Lopez has been charged with misdemeanor reckless driving, and faces a fine of $25-$500 if it's his first offense. Florida speeders are charged with an infraction regardless of the speed, and can face a $1,000 fine if clocked driving at least 40 mph above the posted limit.

Officer Lopez could face disciplinary action, depending on the outcome of his court case. The department's Internal Affairs unit will issue an administrative ruling, after conducting its own probe, Miami PD's Commander Delrich Moss tells POLICE Magazine. Commander Moss said he wouldn't second-guess the trooper's decision to detain Officer Lopez at gunpoint.

"They have their procedures, and we won't Monday-morning-quarterback them," Commander Moss said. "It would be inappropriate to speculate on why they did what they did."

By Paul Clinton

Related: Florida Trooper Arrests Miami Cop at Gunpoint (video)

Tags: Vehicle Pursuits, Off-Duty Incidents, Miami PD, Florida Highway Patrol


Comments (42)

Displaying 1 - 42 of 42

John @ 10/30/2011 7:20 AM

No mention of a tax payer funded car being used by lopez to go to a part time civilian job!!
Ill bet the trooper will be villified by a goodly portion of police & the Blue Wall will somehow try to justify Lopez, s actions

Shawn @ 10/31/2011 7:02 PM

Unbelievable. Lopez puts a bad name on all of us with a badge. Fire him. But I hope that these two agencies get together and talk out this incident in order to avoid any bad blood.

mini28 @ 10/31/2011 7:48 PM

Two words to describe Lopez " dumb ass".

Justice Pro @ 10/31/2011 7:51 PM

The City of Miami is a third world Law Enforcement agency, the people of the community deserve better, the trooper should have taken him to the County Jail. I hope you follow the IA process

True Blue @ 10/31/2011 8:47 PM

FL Troopers; the worst in the nation, Good luck waiting for your backups w/o city cops. No brotherhood.

William Borrego @ 10/31/2011 9:06 PM

This so called trooper DJ Wats, what a real cracker scumbag no common sense no professional courtesy rat piece of IAD crap non human being. I hope next time her state police backup is not available or 30 minutes away when she desperately needs backup, I hope that she thinks about collaring a Brother Officer for this kind of crap as she battles for her life with some pyscho angel dust freak on the side of some lonely dark Florida Highway. She should have never been chasing a marked RMP. Period. Especially after Identifying the driver as a POLICE OFFICER. DJ WATTS, you are a disgrace to POLICE OFFICERS everywhere. And to you racist morons who call MIAMI PD a third world Police Force, Miami PD does the real job unlike you Dudley Doo Right No common sense State Gestapo hacks. Speeding by Cops is OK when you Cracker Cops are the ones doing it because it's ok when you do it as the law does not apply to you, but God forbid another Brother Officer in a marked Police Car-RMP in uniform is running late or over the speed limit. DJ Watts, cracker rat extraordinaire. Rot in hell. And in Florida IT IS 100% ALLOWED FOR OFFICERS TO WORK THEIR SECONDARY EMPLOYMENT AS SECURITY GUARDS IN THEIR POLICE UNIFORMS WHILE TAKING THEIR ASSIGNED POLICE CARS WITH THEM. This also serves as a deterent when the perps see a uniformed cop in a marked patrol car. You don't like this? Change the policy. Other than that it's 100% legal.

William Borrego @ 10/31/2011 9:13 PM

I've dealt with Florida Troopers before and not all are bad. And yes, sorry about my earlier comment where I say that Miami PD does the real job. ALL Brother Officers risk their lives every single day just by wearing the uniform and working by yourself like State Troopers all over the country do stopping cars on lonely dark highways while facing the x factor day in and day out plus responding to all the other calls that city cops respond to is most definitely a highly dangerous job. But Trooper DJ Watts is the absolute scum of the earth. Rot in Hell you rat piece of crap turd DJ Watts.

William Borrego @ 10/31/2011 9:23 PM

The thing is every cop, state trooper and sheriff are guilty of speeding like this in their patrol cars as well as their civilian cars at one time or another in their lives. So what makes this scum DJ Watts feel like God? She obviously lives by do as I say not as I do. She's the special one. She's special alright. She's a special turd. This could have been handle much differently. Hope you have a very looooong wait for you backup when you need assistence you turd DJ Watts.

Stan Bunger @ 10/31/2011 9:24 PM

I am dumbfounded by the comments of Mr. Borrego, who one would suspect is a police officer. How can any officer justify the alleged actions of Officer Lopez? We all take an oath of office and are sworn to protect others. How did Officer Lopez uphold his oath, whether or not he was on duty, by his actions? We all have a code of ethics that we are sworn to abide by. We all have to set the standard for the general public. Mr. Borrego might be one of the minority of law enforcement officers who give us all a bad name and a hard time when we try to do our jobs. Mr. Borrego, you should re-evaluate your chosen career or perhaps think about what your comments mean. You vilify the trooper's actions for doing her job. I am shocked that you would suggest that other officers should not assist her when in need. We can all see who the true disgrace is in this line of commentary.

cm @ 10/31/2011 9:36 PM

Borrego.. Based on the video and national news story I think you are way out of line... Lopez drove in an unsafe manner in his radiocar and brought attention upon himself... the trooper did what she was trained to do and did so in a professional manner

I suspect Lopez will be fired for so many violations of policy I dont even know where to begin... what a total asshat

He's lucky he wasnt booked and just got a cite...

What if Lopez killed someone operating his radiocar like that without good cause.. then what would we be saying...120 mph non code three and without reason.. that makes Lopez a total idiot and without defense.

Ive followed marked units from other departments going through my jurisdiction many times.. for all the right reasons... do they need my help.. is the radiocar stolen...are they real or play police... why are they driving like the way they are.. what am I missing....

For you Sir.. to threaten her because of her actions makes you a wannabe poser and certainly no real copper...

Mitch @ 10/31/2011 10:31 PM

It sounds like Mr. Borrego is a young and still immature Officer. To him him rant like that about a fellow Officer... Trooper or otherwise, is absolutely disgraceful. The Trooper was put in a very tuff position, and had every right to think that could have been a stolen cruiser or a drunken Cop on a crash course to disaster. I didn't read Mr. Borrego place any blamed where it belonged, which was Officer Lopez. As a Trooper I stop Officers off duty all the time and extend professional courtesy to them. I catch them in their marked cars speeding for no good reason out of their jurisdiction, and I overlook it, but there has got be be a line, and Lopez crossed it. It's a shame that he put a fellow Officer in that position...

Stuart @ 11/1/2011 12:21 AM

Sorry, I completely agree with William Borrego and commend him for the balls to speak his mind. There are many things you don't know about this situation and I hope to have enough room to state the facts, if not I will submit part two in a seperate comment. Trooper Watts advised dispatch she was in "pursuit" of a marked City of Miami Patrol Unit for excessive speed and unsafe lane change. FHP general orders advise that no unit will engage in pursuit for traffic infractions. General orders also state that pursuits are only permitted for FELONYS involving serious injury or death. They also call for a patrol supervisor to call the pursuit at his/her discretion. Trooper Watts was given a direct order by the patrol supervisor to terminate the pursuit and contact him via land line and that he would handle this through Miami Dispatch Supervisor, whom is a sworn Sgt. All dispatch had to do was pull up GPS records. That is why if you saw the complete video, she takes off after the officer when he passed her at 6:14AM and activated her lights & siren, but then shuts them down. She then follows the officer at a high rate of speed and activates her equipment again, the Miami officer yeild to the center lane as he though she was running CODE, he then pulls to the slow lane to let her pass, and when she pulled behind him and put her spot light in his rear view, he then pulls over to the fast lane median wall and she jumps out of her RMP, walks up to him, and draws her weapon screaming like a bitch on steroids, road-rage style "put your hands out the window", the officer in disbelief exits his vehicle and she orders him like a piece of shit to put his hands on the car. The officer in a total state of shock complies and she cuffs him first, and then pulls his weapon from his holster. HOW DARE YOU TROOPER WATTS? YOU CROSSED THE THIN BLUE LINE! Not only do you need a Psych. visit, you need retraining. Due to MAX CHAR. This will be continued! See Part II

JAE @ 11/1/2011 12:55 AM

What the officer did was was wrong, but the trooper drawing down I think she over reacted and not something officers do on a traffic stops. Let's focus on the whole picture here as a veteran police officer who was injured in the line of duty. There was mention "above the law" there is more than just law enforcement, I have arrested lawyers, college football players, professional athletes for severe traffc violations and or criminal offenses. When it went to court it would have been "plead" out, dismissed ( non -suit) or the paper work could not be found. Everyone has friends and family and there is more inconsistancies out there than you can imagine.

Just something to think about????????

DEADMAN @ 11/1/2011 2:30 AM

There is no information from Lopez,i would withhold criticism until i had it.Why didn't trooper watts call her dispatch and find out if 1).the cruiser was stolen?---2).If the officer was responding to a call ?----3).If responding,why no lights and siren were being used?---4).Why the high rate of speed?----50.Order the officer to stop thru the radio.

I don't know about the rest of you guys but i have responded to callswith no lights and sirens plenty of time because it was required so as to not let the bad guy know i was coming.Throw stones if you want but this story is missing alot of information.If she had contacted his department by radio and had him ordered to stop,she might not of had to pull her weapon on him.Did she call for back-up and/or a supervisor?This story has nothing from lopez and not enough from watts,for that reason,i won't throw stones.My department,at one time had a Barney Fife regimen,so i was on both sides of the coin,don't be so quick to judge either of them.

Benjammin1829 @ 11/1/2011 4:40 AM

Mr. Borrego,

Your comments are straight to the point, and I'm sure there are alot of cops out there who feel as you do. With that said, I think the trooper did what she though was correct, and I also feel that there is ALOT of PROBLEMS between Miami Police and FHP...

I really hope those two agencies work out their problems asap, because this situation is not good at all!!!! It also appears to me (an outsider) that there is some racial tension between the agencies. It appears that Miami PD (which looks to me has alot of Hispanic/Latino officers, were FHP has a make up of Caucasion/other officers?) and FHP differ in hiring practices.

As for the Miami officer who was arrested, his actions were uncalled for, I mean driving 120mph in traffic to go to a part time gig is unacceptable...

Now would I have arrested him??? Probably not...

Would I have stopped him??? Probably not...

Would I have ran him down and got his squad number and called dispatch and requested his supervisor and reported him to his supervisor???? Yes I would have!!!

I think the Trooper was senior enough to handle this situation "way" differently than she did. And again, just looking at the tape, it appeared to be something more to this issue other than the speeding part.

My 2 cents....

J. Allen @ 11/1/2011 5:15 AM

Wow, quick to rush to judgement from some. Now I've heard all about the Florida HP's reputation but in the many years going through that state I've never had any problem. I guess I wasn't driving at a ridiculous rate of speed. Unless you were there, how can you make a call on Trooper Watt's action? Professional courtesy is one thing, but Lopez pushed the envelope that day. Be safe.

R. Priest @ 11/1/2011 6:25 AM

Good job FHP, keep the streets safe.

copfromthewest @ 11/1/2011 7:13 AM

Mr. Borregio is just wrong. 120 mph to a part time job is not excusable. The the name calling you inflict on the trooper shows that there is no professionalism in your vocabulary. What really is making you so angry?

AMB @ 11/1/2011 7:29 AM

borrego...i'll bet your crooked...

Bill Johnson @ 11/1/2011 7:33 AM

Considering the number of brothers and sisters we have lost this past year, I am thankful that no one had to inform Officer Lopez's family that he or anyone else was killed by his actions.

Rick @ 11/1/2011 8:01 AM

As a USCG Tactical Officer I worked with FL HWY Patrol, then Metro Dade Police and Miami Police. All of the Officers in each agency were professional. Many times "professional courtesy" is a buzzword for letting a cop off the hook for doing something wrong. The Officer drove in an unsafe manner and got justifiably called on the carpet for his actions. 120mph without lights and sirens is plain wrong, dangerous and not in the best interest of the public....and its against the law! The trooper is to be commended!

SpiderWebb @ 11/1/2011 1:22 PM

The state trooper could have called communications to report the officer speeding to his unit and switched over to his channel and advised him to slow down.

Dave @ 11/1/2011 3:12 PM

William. I am with you... what a rat piece of crap... mind your own business.. we as cops have all hauled ass to back up a fellow officer.. im sure she has violated traffic code.. he was wrong for not stopping... you can argue you all you want no civilan is going to understand the need to violate traffic code to help a fellow brother out.. I understand in this case he as going to an off duty job... but she did not know that... several times on the job I have seen other agency squads haul ass past me and my thought was.." I hope all is ok..I wonder if I can help" This piece of dung trooper only thought... " ill show him, how dare he speed past me" ALL YOU CIVILANS put on the badge and work a month before you sit back and comment on our actions in this profession.... remember.. were are the ONLY ones that run toward gunfire...this whole incident has made me sick... hope FHP and Miami PD can hug it out...

greg @ 11/1/2011 3:55 PM

that happened a couple of yrs ago here in south carolina.a highway patrolman pulled another one in a charger.clocked him at 130mph. he was running late to direct traffic at a horse race in camden

greg @ 11/1/2011 4:03 PM

Mr Borrego,you trash this cop for pulling someone driving like a idiot?Yea you should consider a job change.No sense in talking like that about her.You must be a some wanna be.THE ONLY SCUMBAG IS YOU BORREGO

EMETYAHU @ 11/1/2011 5:01 PM

Ofc Watts could have simply caught up to the vehicle, noted the tag/ unit number, and contacted Miami PD via phone to advise a supervisor of the speeding vehicle.....and let the internal process of discipline be metered out. Approaching a marked unit, gun in hand, without a BOLO of a stolen marked unit seems like overkill in my book....Yes, police are held to a higher standard, but officers pulling over marked units is all around a bad idea.

Midwest cop @ 11/1/2011 8:06 PM

Borrego, what prison allowed you to have a computer. You need to be put back into solitary confinement. This trooper needs to be commended for her actions. I am embarrassed to see this video and to think it was no big deal for him. I watched the video with sound and when the trooper wanted to know who was his supervisor, he had no worry telling her. I certainly hope this is not the norm for Miami, but am believing it is. Sad..........

Erick @ 11/2/2011 1:04 AM

Borrego, you an officer? Because you say all officers are guilty of speeding at one time or another. Guess what, so are civilians, and I'm willing to bet you would not let it go and cite them. What a scum bag you probably are. Congrats for your scummy double standard. Officers may have been given special leeway while on duty but they are not above the law.

Bill X @ 11/2/2011 6:56 AM

This was handled inappropriately by the trooper. Why in the hell would you stop a marked unit unless you have undeniable proof the vehicle is stolen? All the trooper had to do was file a complaint with MPD and let their IAD handle it. You sure as hell don't handcuff a uniformed officer. Didn't that trooper think about the negative publicity? She should have gotten the car's # and called IAD. Cops stopping cops opens up a big can of worms.

Eric Byrne @ 11/2/2011 7:17 AM

I certainly hope that all these negative comments are NOT from fellow officers. You guys (William Borrego, True Blu, etc.) should be ashamed of your comments. WE NEVER SHOULD HOPE FOR DANGER TO ANY OF OUR BROTHERS AND SISTER regardless of what agency they work for! I may not like someone on my shift, or at the neighboring agency, but I will have their back no matter what! WHY? Because that is what we are sworn to do......and it's the right thing.

Trooper Watts family AND Officer Lopez family do not deserve to lose them. To wish either ill will is disgraceful, disrespectful, and just plain wrong. This incident was handled by the Officer's involved and that is that. Everyone of us has been to a call that we look back and say, "WOW, I might of handled that a little different; Thank God I have a chance to try again next time." To hindsight them is no different when it happens to us; hopefully we learn and become more competent at our jobs.

Was Officer Lopez right...NOT for us to judge his fate; however, it has to be agreed that his actions don't look promising for him or reflect well on his agency if he is allowed to act as such. Was Trooper Watts right......NOT for us to judge her fate; she did what she thought was the best thing at the time.

I work in a rural area where ALL back-up is 20-30 minutes away. When you are alone, you tend to rethink how you will handle things just so you make it home that night. Thank God this time they both can look at what happened and make adjustments from there.

God Bless everyone of you brothers and sister! Let's remember, we ALL are bound by the thin blue line. Let's not allow emotions to break that! We need each other, even if we don't always like each other; that's what sets us apart from everyone else!

Eric B.

Bill X @ 11/2/2011 8:21 AM

Furthermore, she knew damn well that car wasn't stolen because she made mention that it is always speeding through there. That many non-reported stolen police cars huh? By the way, how did the trooper know that his emergency equipment was functioning. It does go out. If he is running an assist the officer he has just been delayed possibly saving a life. It appears it is about her ego. She was "disrespected." She took his speeding personally. Cadet training 101 teaches never to take anything personally. Next time notify that department's IAD and don't risk and don't risk making us all look like fools. We have enough probs already.

Western Cop @ 11/2/2011 8:43 AM

It appears that Mr. Borrego is a hothead, subject to fly off the handle at the drop of a hat, as evidenced by his three posts within a 17 minute period. I have been in law-enforcement at city, county, federal and state levels for 42 years now, and I would have done the same thing the trooper did after following this idiot at that speed and those conditions. Maybe Borrego is correct and MPD needs to re-examine its policy of letting its officers use the department vehicles in such situations. Its obvious that the privelige is being abused if LOPEZ did this and BORREGO indicates it is common practice and acceptable to any professional cop. And threatening to withhold back up from ANY brother or sister officer is a very unprofessional reaction, quite childish at the least.

Bill X @ 11/2/2011 8:54 AM

The point is why are you trying to stop another unit to begin with? I have numerous agencies blow past me. It never even crossed my mind to jack with them. You don't know what that officer is doing so why risk an incident like this? Go find a real crook. All she had to do was get the car number and make a phone call.

CB @ 11/2/2011 1:58 PM

FHP = SCUM!

In my 30 years of law enforcement (most as a motor officer), there has never been anything good to say about them!

CB @ 11/2/2011 1:59 PM

Hey CM - take the test and walk a mile in our shoes. Otherwise STFU!

Scottdye @ 11/3/2011 9:50 AM

Borrego, WOW, I can see you rate right up there actually higher on the scale than Lopez. He definitely screwed up, but you my friend are a disgrace to LE. We are hired to serve and protect and should be trying to set the example not live above the law.

northHCSO @ 11/3/2011 4:40 PM

Stay strong Lopez and MDPD. Remember Donna, karma is a you know what. How does it feel to be the most hated cop in Law Enforcement? Good luck with getting back up.

north @ 11/3/2011 4:59 PM

The video that we see on the news is biased. The full 49min video tells what unravels. Trooper Watts was ordered to terminate pursuit 2x but disobeyed orders and drove in a reckless manner to catch up to the officer. Knowing full well it was a uniformed officer based on her statements on tape she performed a felony car stop(excessive force IMO) for a traffic offense knowingly on a uniformed cop. The officer was speeding, but trying to yield to her also. he did not realize she was trying to pull HIM over. She let her personal emotions get the best of
her and could've possibly shot another officer. And thanks to her handling of the matter, it has caused outrage in LE world wide.

Joe @ 11/3/2011 7:37 PM

120 miles an hour, I would complain if the state trooper hadn't pulled him over as a risk to other drivers on the road. I enforce the law myself, I am not above it. I even wear my seat belt.

Wesley Mccauley @ 11/3/2011 8:02 PM

Are there no moderators on this site. I mean enough is enough. Lopez was the one out of line for putting the trooper in that position!!!

Tom Ret @ 11/3/2011 8:17 PM

The officer doing 120 mph was not using good judgement which is a given and he should have been called on the carpet by his own agency. However, I question the trooper's actions if she was in fact told not to
pursue by a shift supervisor and that it would be handled internally. Drawing your weapon on a fellow officer for speeding and then handcuffing him needs to have a detailed explanation to justify those actions. Sometimes you can be technically correct but wrong in a practical standpoint. I believe this may be such a case. I would have handled it differently then the trooper. There have been ticket wars and worse between agencies and is the reason why these type of situations are better handled internally. No officer should deny this trooper backup if needed but she may be fair game if she is caught speeding without cause. The speeding officer in this case was wrong but the trooper does not see the big picture in my view. Granted, this was on the extreme side of speeding but when it comes down to it, it really pales in comparison to the shootings, deaths, and other stuff street copes are exposed to in law enforcement. The job is hard enough without turf wars and cooperation between agencies is needed.

Sgt. Brown @ 11/9/2011 8:10 AM

Are high speed pursuits allowed for traffic infractions? I thought that ended years ago, especially in Metropolitan areas. With all the crime in Miami, the police department has time to write up each other? I think they were both wrong but more importantly, this incident made EVERY officer look bad. 120mph definitely puts anyone that was driving on that highway at risk, including himself. The only thing worst than 1 car traveling at 120mph is two cars traveling at 120mph. Was a high speed pursuit of a marked police cruiser necessary? Was a BOLO put out for a stolen Miami police car (giving trooper Watts’s probable cause for a chase) or is high speed purists authorized for traffic offenses? It seems that Trooper Watts could have obtained the vehicle identification and contacted the Miami Police Dept. IAD and later mailing a ticket if it was so darn important. Trooper Watts put just as many people in danger as did Officer Lopez. They both hurt law enforcement all over the country. Shame on you both. Watts should stay with writing parking tickets if she loves traffic offences so much. Someone should investigate Officer Lopez to see WHY he needs to go to part-time so badly, (did someone living beyond his means?). It seems that Trooper Watts is trying to be the new "Serpico" when in fact her judgment is far more questionable than the officer she arrested. This incident left more questions than answers.

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