People of Northwest Public Radio
Thu January 5, 2012
Report Details A Heated Battle Between Miami Police, State Troopers
This is, no doubt, a local story. But bear with us because it's pretty fascinating. Yesterday, the Florida Highway Patrol issued a final report on an incident that sparked a battle between the state troopers and Miami-Dade Police.
It all started in October when Trooper Donna Jane Watts saw a Miami police vehicle speeding through the Florida Turnpike at speeds in excess of 120 mph. Watts turned on her lights and tailed the police car, which did not have its emergency lights on.
The chase went on for a few minutes. Watts' dash cam caught the action and you can hear her talking to dispatch with concern in her voice over why he's not stopping:
When Miami Officer Fausto Lopez finally pulled over, Watts got out of her car and drew her gun. She angrily told Lopez she was serious, while Lopez tried to explain he was on his way to an off-duty job at a school.
In the video posted by the Sun-Sentinel, you hear Watts tell Lopez: "You don't respect me, sir. You don't respect these people out here. This is not a first time occurrence with you all. It's not excusable."
The Miami Herald reports that the incident sparked retaliations. They report:
"In the following days, the battle between the two sides waged fast and furious — and nasty. An anonymous officer sent Univision 23 a video that appeared to show FHP troopers speeding on the turnpike with no emergency lights flashing. And a Miami officer pulled over an FHP corporal far out of the officer's jurisdiction. He was reprimanded.
"Someone dumped several gallons of human feces on an FHP cruiser parked in front of a trooper's home. The trooper happened to be former Miami City Commissioner Joe Sanchez.
"FHP and Miami police hoped a friendly softball game for charity in early December would help end the feud between the agencies. Miami beat FHP 17-3."
The report issued yesterday found that Watts acted properly. Lopez was charged with reckless driving.