News website www.wsvn.com has reported on a disturbing arrest of a Surfside police officer.
The officer is accused of pulling over drivers and accepting bribes.
The officer, a three-and-a-half-year veteran of the Surfside Police Department, has been charged with three counts of bribery. Bribery is a second degree felony in Florida, punishable by 15 years in prison.
A five-month investigation revealed that the officer would pull over drivers suspected of DUI or other moving violations. The officer would tell them they could either choose to go to jail or get towed. If the drivers chose to have their car towed, the officer would call his brother, who is a tow truck driver. His brother would tow the cars for an increased fee.
Surfside Police became suspicious of the officer after receiving complaints. Eventually, this became an investigation by the Miami-Dade Police Public Corruption Investigations Bureau.
These allegations are disturbing because they involved a police officer. Police officers are supposed to be law-abiding citizens as they are endowed with great power. But as this case shows, that may not always be the case.
When a police officer is arrested, it calls into question the tactics and credibility of all police officers. Many times, clients will tell me that an officer's report is not a true account of their arrest. Unfortunately, there are police officers out there who lie.
While the majority of the brave men and women of law enforcement are good, the few bad apples really do spoil the bunch.
As a criminal attorney who practices in Miami-Dade County and Broward County, I interact with police officers all the time. As a former prosecutor, I had close relationships with police.
I take depositions in all of my felony cases because it allows me to peel back the layers and determine whether a police officer is telling the truth. Sometimes my investigation reveals that a police officer has fabricated part of his or her report in order to cover up some wrongdoing.
This wrongdoing may translate to a violation of your rights. Sometimes cops will break the law only to justify their actions later in their report. Where a search and seizure may be unlawful and without a warrant or consent, the cops may perform the search and later write a report stating that the accused consented to the search. This is one of the most frequent lies I expose.
Don't get me wrong. I have great respect for police. But good, honest police. I don't ever respect liars, in any profession.
But police have great power. And their word can mean a lot more than yours in a court of law.
If you feel that you have been the victim of police misconduct during the course of your arrest, contact me.