The Miami-Dade police officer pulled over by a civilian for allegedly speeding, the scene captured on video that has now gone viral, was identified Monday as Daniel Fonticiella, a former Hammocks District officer who now works at PortMiami.
Police released little other information on Fonticiella — like his age or years of service with the department — except to say that an internal affairs investigation is under way after a complaint was filed Monday by a woman named Claudia Castillo.
Castillo, who spoke with Miami Herald news partner CBS 4, said she was running an errand when she spotted Fonticiella racing past her with his siren turned off.
“I think this merits some attention at a countywide level,” Castillo said. “Police officers speed all the time. That should not be an acceptable modus operandi. That's not the way it works. That's not the way it should work.”
On Sunday, Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said Fonticiella's command staff will investigate the incident.
Three separate cell phone videos taken from a mounted phone in her car and posted Friday shot Castillo into YouTube superstardom this weekend. Filmed during her pursuit of Fonticiella, the videos show the woman following the officer and finally catching up to him in traffic near the 27th Avenue exit of the Dolphin Expressway.
After she catches Fonticiella's attention, he pulls over and approaches Castillo. Then the tables turn.
“The reason I pulled you over today is because I saw you, since Miller Drive when you were first jumping onto the Palmetto, and you were pushing 90 miles per hour,” Castillo tells the officer as he leans into her passenger window.
Says Fonticiella: “Really? OK.”
Then this from Castillo: “You passed me like I was standing still.”
At one point in the video the officer says he'll slow down next time, then shows her his name and badge number, which she never requested.
PBA president John Rivera said Monday he saw “no evidence’’ that Fonticiella was speeding.
“However, if it were true, two wrongs don't make a right,’’ he said. “Had something gone wrong, as in she got into a crash and hurt someone, she would be totally liable. The appropriate action would have been to write the car number down and contact the department. I felt the officer’s response was totally professional and he even offers up his name and badge. I commend him for his demeanor.”
The website Photography is Not a Crime was first to post the video on Saturday. Speeding police officers shot into the local consciousness in 2011 when Florida Highway Patrol Officer Donna Watts pulled over Miami police officer Fausto Lopez for speeding. The image was captured on video and Watts was openly ostracized by Miami police. She eventually filed a lawsuit and Lopez was later let go.
That led to a 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation by the South Florida Sun Sentinel into cops speeding. The newspaper used electronic-tolling data to prove police were racing at speeds as high as 130 miles per hour.
Last week, after Castillo pulled over Fonticiella, she told the officer she “just wanted to know: What's the emergency?"
Said Fonticiella: “Um, I don't know how fast I was going. But I can tell you this: I'm on my way to work right now. I don't believe I was speeding.”