FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

 
 
 

Hide and Chic Purse Holster - DeSantis
This women's concealer offers an ingenious hidden handgun compartment that is...

Top News

Report: Trooper Who Cited Speeding Miami Cop Failed To Communicate Facts

January 09, 2012  | 

VIDEO: Fla. Trooper Arrests Miami Cop at Gunpoint

The Florida trooper who pulled over a speeding Miami Police officer ignored orders to back off and didn't relay all the facts of the traffic stop when initially interviewed, according to the report on the incident.

The report, issued by the inspector general of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, stopped short of recommending disciplinary action for Trooper Donna Jane Watts.

Video of the Oct. 11 traffic stop in South Broward County went viral, and the incident sparked a vicious back-and-forth battle between officers of the two agencies.

Watts, who detained Miami officer Fausto Lopez at gunpoint after clocking him at 120 mph in his cruiser, ignored an order from her supervisor to "back off" because she thought he meant "slow down." Watts later told her supervisors what happened, but left out important details—like the fact that she pulled her gun on Lopez, reports the Palm Beach Post.

Tags: Florida Highway Patrol, Miami PD, Thin Blue Line


Comments (35)

Displaying 1 - 35 of 35

joe @ 1/9/2012 5:51 PM

This trooper needs to find another line of work if she can't figure out what a criminal looks like. Really, out of the thousands of other violaters in the highway she chose to stop a fellow officer in his cruiser. What side of the law is she in? Im just glad shes not in our military.

Dustin @ 1/9/2012 6:14 PM

joe remember this Miami cop was going EXTREMELY fast for no other reason then to get to his second job. Both members were out of line, BIG TIME

Dustin @ 1/9/2012 6:14 PM

joe remember this Miami cop was going EXTREMELY fast for no other reason then to get to his second job. Both members were out of line, BIG TIME

Scott @ 1/9/2012 6:34 PM

He was wrong for the un justifiable speed. However, he has a supervisor and a chief. If they see the video and do nothing, it's on them. She's lucky he didn't think he was getting ambushed by a fake cop. If he had any skill at all... It may have been fatal.

Joe @ 1/9/2012 6:34 PM

I wonder if she would have stopped another FHP trooper in his cruiser or was there already tensions between both agencies. What if the officer was responding to an assistance request and forgot to turn on his sirens. This trooper overeacted and her tactics were horrible. This was an embarrasment.

Randy @ 1/9/2012 6:48 PM

Everyone of you have this wrong. What is the matter with you? The Miami cop was off duty doing 120 mph. He should have been arrested for reckless driving and further punished for misuse of government equipment. I'm a former cop who is big into the brotherhood, but this can not be condoned.

Dan @ 1/9/2012 6:49 PM

The vast majority of you feel speeding is a crime. Where is the victim? There are only two things that are law. They are the Constitution and Common Law. They are law. Statutes are administrative regulations that carry the force and effect of law but are administrative in nature. Under the Law there is no crime and if there is no victim.

Where is the justification for the trooper to draw her firearm and threaten another officer with deadly force. Those of you that have been brain washed into thinking because you are a peace officer you can pull your gun out anytime you wish is total crap. You don’t like having anyone point one at you, so make sure there is justification for you to do it.

If it is not a crime for an officer to go over 100 mph then it is not a crime for anyone else to do the same. Quit being puppets. You can not break the law in the name of the law.

No statute is valid if it is repugnant to the Constitution. If you are going to be good at your job as a peace officer then learn the law and learn to ignore regulations. Also remember that when you take the oath you have two Constitutions to uphold.

I retired in 1985 after serving as both a Constable and Deputy Sheriff and I can tell you if you follow procedure and regulations you will find yourself in a world of trouble. If you follow the law you might get in trouble with your superiors or the agency but you will not find yourself in prison or penniless from civil judgment.

Remember, but for the grace of god there go I. Treat others as you would want to be treated and always search for the truth. Make sure to stand for justice not just us.

John @ 1/9/2012 6:53 PM

How is a trained professional doing 120mph reckless driving? We do it running code whats the difference. They both were outta line, the speeder should be yelled at and done and the dumb chick that stopped him should be fired! She was extremely outta line and lucky he didnt shoot her.

Mark @ 1/9/2012 6:54 PM

What happened to Police Professionalism, this Miami Police Officer could have been responding to an alarm call. If the trooper was so concerned with the speeding police vehicle she should have got the car number and alerted his supervisor, pulling out a firearm on fellow officer is never-the-less unprofessional.

Randy @ 1/9/2012 7:14 PM

John, are you serious or screwing with me? I have 25 years experience driving high speed calls / chases, I'm retired now, is it ok for me to continue to drive 120 when I'm late for the movies? I mean really, 120 mph with no lights / siren, weaving in and out of traffic for 14 miles being chased by an on duty officer with lights / siren.... and he's the one lucky she didn't shoot him.

Warner @ 1/9/2012 7:24 PM

How dare the FHP Trooper act like this. This should have been handled in a professional manner between two cops. When the FHP Trooper is getting his ass handed to him by some POS in an all out drag down fight for his life, lets see how he acts. Next time an off duty will ride right by and wave. Wake up it's a war out there!!

Bob@Az. @ 1/9/2012 7:37 PM

Randy, As they used to say, back in the day, RIGHT ON! If we'd been caught doing that we'd be walking to the unemployment office. Good call.

JASOM @ 1/9/2012 7:38 PM

ONE DUMB COP TRIGGERS ANOTHER DUMB COP TO FOLLOW IN THE STUPIDITY WHAT HAPPENED TO COMMON SENSE!

Chris @ 1/9/2012 11:18 PM

Dustin, Ok, so he was going EXTREMELY fast, do you pull your gun out on speeders. That was over the edge.
He messed up and she made it worse.

John @ 1/10/2012 4:36 AM

Most cops I know wouldn't stop either because we wouldn't take a chance it was real...BUT I wouldnt go 120 to an off duty job either, especially without blue lights...BUT everyone goes 80-90 in FL anyways...That officer should be held accountable BUT the FL trooper needs common sense. THE REAL ISSUE HEAR IS THE LACK OF PROFESSIONALS IN OUR PROFESSION! MOST GREAT OFFICERS LEAVE THE FIELD BECAUSE ITS A JOKE, AND PEOPLE LIKE THE TROOPER WILL GET PROMOTED TO GET HER OFF THE ROAD. WAIT AND SEE...

Steve @ 1/10/2012 4:45 AM

To all who are trying to justify the Miami Officer's conduct, you must conduct yourself in like manner. Lets stick to the facts. 120 mph to get to an off-duty job is not justifyable.

Not being on the scene of the stop it is hard to know how justified the Trooper was in drawing her service weapon. It seems that it was not, certainly after she had verified that it was a police officer operating the cruiser.

A ticket at minimum was justified. Contacting a supervisor respond to the scene if practical would have been a better course of action. Most agencies that offer take home vehicles have restrictions on their use. I have to wonder if this officer violated that policy as well.

I suspect that the stop was outside of Miami's jurisdiction so the Trooper's suspicion that the speed was unjustified was probable cause enough to believe there was something amiss and warranted due caution when approaching the officer's vehicle.

No one needs an officer who has a wanton disregard for the safety of others in this profession. You can't use your badge and especially departmental vehicles to justify misconduct. I have to wonder how the rest of his work conduct measures up. I also have to wonder about the Trooper's judgement.

As for those who argue that speeding 120 mph is not criminal, the state where I work lists reckless driving as a Class 1 misdemeanor. In my opinion, a Class 1 misdemeanor is a crime. Driving in that manner without justification is no better than driving drunk. Situations can present themselves which would leave insufficient reaction time to avoid and innocent persons could be killed. We are in a profession and should conduct ourselves as professionals.

Steve @ 1/10/2012 5:15 AM

I don't know exactly what was in the troopers mind. That being said, if I were in a similar situation, my first thought would have been that this was a stolen police vehicle. Why else would a fellow officer put my life at risk by making me chase him fourteen miles and not stopping to at the very least identify himself. A 120 mph chase. Really? All that was done was to give the press a field day at law enforcements' expense and put another leo in danger for the sake of an off duty detail.

Carlo @ 1/10/2012 5:51 AM

I agree that both officers were in the wrong, but I feel the Trooper should have used common sense in this case. To arrest another officer in uniform, in a cruizer is unreal. The general public seeing this incident makes them lose faith in their police officers. In my opinion, the Trooper should have had her dispatch contact Miami PD Dispatch and advise them of the situation. The on duty Miami PD WC could have had the officer goto the station to explain himself and dispatch could have told him to slow down.....

Chris @ 1/10/2012 7:02 AM

Speeding is just that, speeding. Y'all want to condemn the officer for SPEEDING!!!!!! He didn't steal. He didn't lie (like the trooper did according to the article above). He broke a traffic law. Omg, the world is coming to an end cause someone was speeding. Those of you who think that cop should be fired or worse should really examine the line of work your in. I, for one, am glad I do not work with you. Officers have a hard enough time these days doing our job without having the public bitch, wine and complain. We now have to worry about our administrations and you, apparently, not having our back.

Chris @ 1/10/2012 7:08 AM

Also, the trooper should have her a$$ fired for lieing. She can remember her boss said back off but not that she drew her weapon. What else has or did she lie about. The officer was wrong for speeding yes, but does not deserve to be hung out to dry. For those of you who think so... Please, for our sake, find another line of work. If u want to give that much customer service may I suggest a grocery story manager or the greeter at wal mart.

Lt. Dan Birdsley @ 1/10/2012 7:13 AM

Dan, are you serious? you sound more like posse than a former officer. Those procedures that you advocate we not follow will get you fired, sued, and if it is egregious enough, put in prison. Neither officer came out smelling like a rose in this. Yes, I believe there were tensions before the incident. There are a few more, now!

Chris @ 1/10/2012 7:16 AM

John, your right. That's the next Captain or chief of police right there.

Sgt KA Jones @ 1/10/2012 8:22 AM

Now that what a super trooper is for policing the police who gave her a a star i guess she dosn't need help from other police officers WoW i'm very happy not be an officer in her area or State

Casey @ 1/10/2012 9:57 AM

If either of these officers were on my payroll they would be facing disciplinary action, probably termination. Both of them displayed poor decision making. One of them disobeyed a direct order, and then used horrible tactics to arrest a fellow officer. The other was abusing county property, setting a bad example for the public and yes, even a trained officer puts the public in danger when driving that fast without lights, siren and an emergency call. How is that officer ever going to be able to testify in court about how someone was driving an unsafe speed? Both of them have brought disgrace to thier agencies and LE in general.

Jeff @ 1/10/2012 2:29 PM

This is the stupidest incident I've heard in 25 years of LE.

Both officers were wrong and should be disciplined appropriately...and then they should be made to work a shift in the same car!

RICHARD ISAACS @ 1/10/2012 6:42 PM

cunts and runts. that is what out police depts have been reduced to hiring.

Sal @ 1/12/2012 2:40 PM

Both were wrong. But she is completely clueless. The thing she should've done was communicate to here dispatch to see if there was anything working in the area which could've caused the deputy to have been going that fast. If not back off!!!! DUMMY!!!

B @ 1/16/2012 7:12 AM

Both the officer and trooper were out of line. MPD officer shouldn't have been going that fast just to make it to an off duty job. The trooper overreacted and handled the whole thing very, very poorly. Both made their respective agencies look very bad in the media and with the public.
As far as the reckless driving goes, here in FL, speed alone does not constitute reckless driving. I'm currently assigned to traffic enforcement, and I have stopped people for 100+ in 45 and 55 and have only been able to issue them a speeding citation for 30+ over the speed limit which carries a mandatory court appearance. We have to prove "wanton, and willful disregard" in court. With light traffic I saw in the video, and little views of the MPD cruiser, it would be hard to justify since the trooper was not close.

Both involved are a disgrace to their agency. Driving a marked cruiser that fast (without lights/siren while responding to a legitimate emergency), while outside of your county/jurisdiction, is just crazy. Don't give the public any more reason to dislike law enforcement, our job is hard enough as it is now. Also, don't put another LEO in the bad position to deal with your actions.

The trooper's actions are just as crazy. She overreacted and is a danger to herself, other officers, and the public. Sadly, I know LEO's like her and they seem to always fly under the radar, despite concerns brought to supervisors.

I think getting the cruiser number and handling through supervisory levels would have been better than arresting the uniformed officer at gunpoint. How did she know he wasn't responding to an off duty call out or some other actual emergency?

EVIL4HIRE.COM @ 1/17/2012 11:07 PM

SHE DID THE RIGHT THING PULLING OVER THAT &%#! COPS DONT HAVE A BRASS PASS ANY MORE!!! SHE SHOULD OF SHOT HIM FIRST ASKED QUESTIONS LATER.. HE IS A WASTE OF SPACE!!! 120MPH IS 5150 UNLESS CODE 3 LS, AND HE WAS NOT! HE SHOULD BE IN JAIL LOSE HIS LICENSE AND BE DETAINED FOR MENTAL DISORDERS!!!

WILL @ 1/28/2012 7:04 PM

NO DOUBT THAT THE DADE COUNTY OFFICER WAS OUT OF LINE FOR CAUSING SUCH A DANGEROUS CONDITION, BUT WITH ALL THAT BEING SAID WHAT KIND OF TRAINING DO THESE FHP GET THAT THEY ARE WILLING TO PUT THE LIFE OF ANOTHER OFFICER IN DANGER ALONG WITH THOSE OF THE PUBLIC OVER THIS INCIDENT. THE MATTER SHOULD HAVE BEEN HANDLED BY THE DEPT'S INVOLVED.

WILL @ 1/28/2012 7:04 PM

NO DOUBT THAT THE DADE COUNTY OFFICER WAS OUT OF LINE FOR CAUSING SUCH A DANGEROUS CONDITION, BUT WITH ALL THAT BEING SAID WHAT KIND OF TRAINING DO THESE FHP GET THAT THEY ARE WILLING TO PUT THE LIFE OF ANOTHER OFFICER IN DANGER ALONG WITH THOSE OF THE PUBLIC OVER THIS INCIDENT. THE MATTER SHOULD HAVE BEEN HANDLED BY THE DEPT'S INVOLVED.

RetiredAF @ 3/21/2012 9:31 AM

I believe FHP Trooper Jane Watts acted properly and now the courts will bear that out. Miami Police Officer Fausto Lopez is going to plead no contest and pay a $3K fine for a lesser fine of reckless driving and won't even be on probation. That is justice. The Sun Sentinel inveitigation found Lopez was a "habitual speeder". An anlysis of his sunpass records showed he AVERAGED above 100 mph on 114 days in the year before Watts pulled him over. She may have save some lives by what she had the courage to do. Those who failed to support her should hand their heads in shame for their failure to stand up for what they had to know was right. To approch the car with drawn weapon was also justified until she could determine who was driving as it would not be the first time a police car was stolen. The public you protect is solidly behind you officer Watts.

Retired LEO/MP @ 9/17/2012 6:56 PM

I agree that both officers were wrong, MPD Lopez reaped what he sewed with his reckless driving, but I believe FHP Watts needs to also be terminated for blatently disregarding orders from her superior to "back off" which can be clearly heard in video from radio traffic and the fact that she lied later during subsequent investigation, if her memory fails her during an internal investigation how reliable is she ir will she be in a legal proceeding for testimony, she over reacted and then tried to cover her butt by feigning amnesia about certain parts of the incident, he was terminated for abuse and recklessness, she needs to be gone as well for excessive force, disobeying a superior, obstrcution of justice, and false testimony to an investigation official. You and I both know that if joe citizen had done the same thing they would be fined and in jail most times, she is no different, she did the crime, cut her loose and let them both find work more suited for their temperment and demeanor.

Dennis @ 9/18/2012 8:19 AM

I teach at the police academy, have 12 years experience and I am a RADAR and LIDAR instructor. I am sure the state Trooper was right in what they did. Maybe it was not done perfect but too bad more officers do not hide behind the "Blue curtain." It is against the law for officers to speed without use of emergency equipment, with a few exceptions such as the last distance to a robbery, and they should be held accountable. I do not cite people for what I do wrong. Might does not make right.

Darren @ 9/18/2012 4:29 PM

No wonder why this JOB is so f ed up. Alpha hotels ..... Figured out rookie....wait what am I saying. Even a rookie knows maybe there s a better way to handle a marked cruiser. Probably the only crime arrest she ever made...... Really scary a cop. In uniformed in a marked unit....our hero..... Thanks for making that much harder.....hero....dumb

Join the Discussion





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent News

Puerto Rico Officer Dies After Car Crash
Agent Marieli Santiago-Morales of the Puerto Rico Police Department died Wednesday from...
Video: Man Opens Fire in LAPD Station, Officer Wounded
A Los Angeles police officer was shot and wounded Monday night when a man walked into the...

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of over 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine