A Miami-Dade police officer routinely stopped women drivers for no reason so he could have “sexually suggestive conversations” — including asking to see the scars on a Miami Beach bartender’s surgically enhanced breasts — and then let the women go without issuing any citations, federal authorities say.
On Wednesday, FBI agents arrested officer Prabhainjana Dwivedi at Miami-Dade police headquarters.
Dwivedi, a seven-year veteran who once worked the overnight shift patrolling an area from Key Biscayne to Jackson Memorial Hospital, was assigned to desk duty last summer after he came under internal suspicion for the questionable traffic stops.
Dwivedi, 33, charged with depriving people of their civil rights, was released on a $150,000 personal surety bond. He must return to federal court Friday to address who is going to represent him as his defense attorney. His arraignment is set for Sept. 19.
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An FBI criminal complaint portrayed Dwivedi as a rogue patrol officer who detained “numerous” female drivers for “unreasonable” lengths of time “without probable cause, reasonable suspicion or other lawful authority to conduct a stop.” The complaint focuses on a handful of traffic stops between May and June of last year, including one of a female undercover officer.
But authorities suspect there are other victims and encouraged them to contact the FBI.
According to the complaint, Dwivedi stopped a 19-year-old woman at 2:20 a.m. on May 27, 2011, as she was leaving a Miami-Dade nightclub with two friends. The woman, identified as A.R., said the officer stopped her because she did not turn on her headlights. Dwivedi also claimed she was intoxicated, which she disputed.
Dwivedi asked the driver to exit her car and sit in the back seat of his marked cruiser, then “instructed A.R. to lower the zipper on the front of her dress down past her breasts to her mid-stomach,” the complaint says. “A.R. stated that, by following Dwivedi’s instructions, she somewhat exposed her breasts.”
She was detained for one hour and twenty minutes before the officer left without issuing a citation. According to Miami-Dade police, Dwivedi did not list the traffic stop on his daily activity report, nor did he advise a dispatcher of the stop. He also did not conduct a driver’s license check of A.R. or her two passengers.
The criminal complaint also shows that on the same date, at 5:30 a.m., Dwivedi stopped a 24-year-old woman bartender traveling from South Beach to her home in Broward County. He pulled her over in the area of the Golden Glades interchange, where he accused her of driving under the influence.
The woman, identified as M.F., asked the officer to perform a roadside sobriety test on her, but he refused, the complaint says.
Dwivedi asked her if she was the mother of a young child because she had a child safety seat in the rear passenger area. He told the woman that if he arrested her for DUI, she would lose custody of her child.
Then, according to the complaint, he shifted the conversation to the woman’s breast-enchancement surgery, asking her “if she had any photographs of her breasts.”
“M.F. provided Dwivedi with her cellular telephone so that he could view the photographs,” the complaint says. “After viewing the photos, Dwivedi asked M.F. if she had any scars or incisions from the surgery.”
She replied that she did, and he asked to see them.
“M.F. then lifted her shirt and showed Dwivedi the scar,” according to the complaint written by FBI special agent Susan Funk. “M.F. stated that Dwivedi did not touch her breast.”
Afterward, the officer told her that she appeared sober and could drive home. He also said that he would follow her to ensure she arrived safely.
At her residence, Dwivedi said he was thirsty, asking for a drink. The woman said the officer spent more than one hour at her home talking about his personal life.
As in the previous incident, Dwivedi did not list the stop on his daily activity report or inform a dispatcher of the stop. He did not conduct a check of her driver’s license, either.
On June 5, the complaint says, Dwivedi detained two women and their boyfriends at 4:30 a.m. on a beach in Key Biscayne, accusing them of trespassing through a hole in a fence. In a parking lot, he questioned one of the women, M.M., about the underwear she was wearing.
“M.M. stated that Dwivedi continuously pointed his flashlight at her cleavage,” the complaint says.
“At one point, Dwivedi pulled his pants zipper down.”
The officer eventually released M.M. and the others, who drove away.
After the women lodged complaints with Miami-Dade police, the department’s internal affairs investigators conducted surveillance of Dwivedi’s shifts, concluding that he made dozens of traffic stops without probable cause.
On June 25, the officer stopped an undercover officer during a surveillance around midnight near Northwest 12th Avenue and 40th Street. Dwivedi said he stopped her for making an illegal right turn.
“The undercover officer reported that Dwivedi was flashing his light onto her breasts and between her legs while at her vehicle,” according to the complaint.
The undercover officer gave him a false name, date of birth and Social Security number. Dwivedi said he could not find her in public records, but he let her go without issuing a citation.