Police

Speeding Miami cop should be fired, probe says

 

An internal probe recommended that Officer Fausto Lopez, who routinely exceeded 100 miles per hour while off-duty, should be terminated.


Florida Highway Patrol arrested a Miami police officer on Oct. 11 after a seven-minute-long high speed chase on Florida's Turnpike in Broward County.

VIDEO COURTESY OF UNIVISION 23

dovalle@MiamiHerald.com

A Miami police officer with a penchant for speeding — and whose video-taped traffic stop by a state trooper drew national headlines — should be fired, an internal investigation recommended.

According to a reprimand released Monday, Officer Fausto Lopez showed a “practice and pattern” of reckless speeding while off-duty in his take-home patrol car, consistently clocking in dangerous speeds over 100 miles per hour between September and November.

It was on Oct. 11 that a Florida Highway Patrol trooper, at gunpoint, pulled over a speeding Lopez on the Florida Turnpike in Broward County.

He was briefly handcuffed and later charged with misdemeanor reckless driving.

The traffic stop sparked tension between FHP and Miami cops, some whom claimed the trooper showed a lack of professional courtesy to a fellow law enforcement officer. Lopez, who was on his way to a off-duty job from his Broward home, also drew the wrath of members of the public who say cops too often get away with speeding.

The incident sparked an investigation by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, which analyzed SunPass toll data to calculate that Lopez and a slew of other local cops were speeding in their patrol cars while not on duty.

Lopez eventually pleaded no contest, paid $3,300 in fines and accepted 100 hours of community service.

Miami’s internal probe found Lopez guilty of several administrative violations, including breaching discipline, acting recklessly with city property and disgraceful conduct. Detectives also analyzed SunPass data, calculating the speed between toll booths and how long it took Lopez to get from booth to booth.

The city’s investigation has recommended discipline against 38 other speeding cops, with penalties ranging from reprimands to suspensions of up to two weeks, according to Miami police spokesman Delrish Moss.

Only Lopez was targeted for termination.

Lopez, in the reprimand, said he disagrees with the facts of the investigation and with the proposed firing.

He can now request that a panel of fellow officers review his case.

If he does not request that review, and Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa decides to fire him, Lopez can appeal to the city’s Civil Service board.

Read more Top Stories stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category