Florida State Trooper Who Pulled Over Speeding Cop Sues 88 Officers in 25 Jurisdictions

Perhaps you saw the video last year. A Florida state trooper pulled over a Miami police officer after the Miami officer flew past the trooper on the Florida Turnpike driving faster than 100 MPH. The video went viral. The speeding Miami officer was off duty, on his way to a moonlighting gig. Eventually, after an investigation, the officer was fired. http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-09-14/news/fl-speeding-cop-fired-20120914_1_officer-fausto-lopez-chief-manuel-orosa-miami-police

The Sun-Sentinel followed-up with its own investigation, and based on Sun Pass data (it works like EZ Pass at toll plazas), they determined this was a wide-spread issue. http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/speeding-cops/fl-speeding-cops-20120211,0,3706919.story This is actually a long report, but it’s worth the read if you really want to understand the problem.

Now, the trooper who pulled over the Miami cop is suing 88 officers in 25 jurisdictions for illegally accessing her personal information and harassing her. http://reason.com/blog/2013/01/04/florida-state-trooper-who-pulled-over-sp

I always wondered what ever happened to Fausto Lopez after Donna Watts pulled him over. I guess he’s been keeping busy, or at least his friends have been keeping busy on his behalf. The harassment is disgusting, and it should stop. I think Donna Watts is a hero. What do you think?

And to think , my kids believe the bullying stops after school !
Hah !
When my wife got her R.N. and went back to work after the first empty nest…she was aghast at the mid school mentality of the co-workers there.

That officer is not the only one to get bullied on the job .

I’m GLAD she made a legal issue of it for all the nation to see.

When my wife got her R.N. and went back to work after the first empty nest......she was aghast at the mid school mentality of the co-workers there.

If that happens where you wife works…then shame on that company. We have very very strict guidelines for any kind of bullying/harassment in the workplace. Or for that matter if it occurs outside the workplace. I will NOT tolerate it one bit. If it occurs…the offender will get ONE warning…and some extra training…Second time…they are FIRED and escorted out the door. Most GOOD companies will have training to ALL employees on what is acceptable behavior and what is unacceptable. Companies can get sued if bullying/harassment occurs…and management doesn’t do anything about it. Harassment or bullying is just plain childish and should not be tolerated by anyone.

@whitey - I read that article last week. I hope she wins her case. There should be 88 more cops FIRED. I guess she crossed that Blue-Line.

The second and third parts of the Sun-Sentinel investigation (the second link) are horrifying.

I agree @Whitey. Though I would like to think there are lots really good people working as cops on the local level, the chances of running into bad apples is much greater the lower in the pecking order you go. State Cops tend to be better trained then many locals with a just a few notable exceptions. On that alone I would support Ms. Watts. Big fish in the small pond syndrome is all too common with town and city police. They get away with stuff in their local and wonder why they can’t expect the same courtesy elsewhere. They don’t seem to get the law applies to everyone, even those who enforce it.

Unfortunately, the Sun-Sentinel’s investigation found the state troopers were the worst speeders. You’d kind of expect that though since they patrol the highways and have the largest jurisdiction. Like the article says, you can’t drive 85 MPH to catch someone who is driving 105 MPH. Also, the larger the jurisdiction, the harder it is to determine if an officer is speeding for just cause.

Very disturbing

I found this in the comments section for part 3 of the series . . .

“Im a cop and speed all the time on duty off duty who cares nobody will stop me and I live outside the county I work. So what can you say I love to speed who cares what you think and the article won’t stop me so good luck call FHP call IA.”

So this officer clearly states that he will do as he pleases. Not only that, he clearly states he doesn’t care what anybody else thinks

He sounds like a real POS

I have respect for the law enforcement community . . . but not guys like this, who think they’re above the law

What kind of role model is this guy setting?

When he’s talking to his son, it probably goes something like this . . . “Son, I can do whatever I want, because I’m special. I can do whatever I want, because I wear a badge. That’s all that matters.”

I won’t say much here because I think Trooper Watts was just doing her job and is in no way a hero. She must have known what was going to happen to her because cops tend to stick together on this sort of thing. I’ll applaud her for her courage but she is no hero in my mind.

If I read the article correctly, officer Watts wasn’t the only state trooper to have issuing tickets to speeding cops

That said, it seems the vast majority of those speeding tickets were dismissed, even in cases where the speeding cop killed someone

I have become quite concerned about local law enforcement and a recent federal trial against a state trooper for assaulting a visitor at the local jail brought quite a few in the area to become concerned. And as for high speed pursuit, a state trooper was killed when he lost control and left the road while chasing a young hot rodder on a rural road. A local court sent the young speeder to prison for 20 years. That seemed somewhat outrageous to me. The trooper had read the tag number and yet continued the pursuit for several miles.

We need to pay better attention to the situation and hold those in charge accountable for the actions of the men who enforce the law.

In Minnesota it is $2500 per instance of accessing personal information without cause. Its happened quite a bit by local and even state enforcement staff but is turning around now that a few jurisdictions have multi-million dollar fines to pay.

I think in regard to bullying, sometimes strict policies don’t stop it but drive it underground to the informal organization. So its the poker buddies, members of a particular church, etc. that determine who’s in and who’s out and nobody really the wiser. After being retired for three years now, I find personal connections between people and groups that I had no idea existed and explains a lot. At least bullies are out in the open face to face.

My hat is off to Trooper Watts and it’s disgusting that this had to lead to a lawsuit. If there were any ethics at all in those police departments the officers involved would have been sent home for a month without pay at a minumum or canned on the spot to make an example out of them.
The latter would be my preference.

The downside to lawsuits on something like this is that the public ends up footing the bill for any judgement or settlement and it doesn’t come out of the pockets of the defendants.

There simply is no room in a society for law enforcement to exempt themselves from the laws. Nor for judges to let it happen.

The fox guarding the henhouse . . .

An example must always be set by law enforcement police officers, state troopers and deputies.
I pulled over many officers and treated them with the same respect and concern as other citizens.
I never gave a warning to an officer and then a ticket to a citizen. That’s partly why I’m no longer with them, too many speeders, and I was told I wrote too few tickets. But there is a thing called professional courtesy that brings all officers together as brothers, but when that respect is not acknowledged you are going to have friction. I always extend every courtesy as it is merited. I was never given that same courtesy in my quest to seek justice concerning allegations that were wrongfully accused of me. I have to suffer those actions caused by corrupt officers for the rest of my life. But that is life. I don’t know the circumstances behind the officer writing the other officer a ticket but clearly it was for the safety of all drivers and pedestrians. I sometimes went faster than I wanted to on patrol and always was prepared to ensure that when I passed other patrol cars that I did not stick out like a violator of the law but as a good example of safe legal driving. When we had to speed to emergencies it was with lights and sirens. Anybody that accesses information thru D.A.V.I.D. When not necessary commits a crime of professional misconduct and is to be punished by the law. There is no place in law enforcement for officers to abuse this privilege.

TV cops and real-world cops are two completely different animals…If the female trooper wins her case she can take the money and do something fun with her life instead of chasing speeders and cleaning up after accidents…

“TV cops and real-world cops are two completely different animals”

I agree

By the way, I don’t recall anybody talking about CSI, NYPD Blue, or the likes.

Acting and law enforcement are 2 different skill sets

An important part of living in an open society is that laws have to be enforced evenly. Cops violating the laws means the laws don’t really mean anything, and that leads to anarchy. Every citizen should support enforcement of the laws regardless of who the violator is - and every unjust law needs to take its turn in the courts. No one should decide that the laws don’t apply to them. If you think the law is unjust, then get the courts to kill it.

I agree. And I can’t recall the last time I saw a police vehicle going the speed limit. They all speed. Why should anyone else go the speed limit if the police don’t?