In a tell-all crime drama that has gone viral worldwide, a Florida Highway Patrol Trooper – identified by numerous sources as Donna “D.J.” Watts – chases and stops an allegedly reckless Miami Police Officer on the Florida Turnpike near Hollywood Boulevard in Broward County in his marked patrol unit.
First reported on LeoAffairs, the dash cam footage shows Trooper Watts chasing Miami Police Officer Fausto López, 35, after he repeatedly ignored her warnings to stop while allegedly driving speeds of up to 120 mph.
The incident took place on October 11, 2011.
In the Florida Highway Patrol video, the marked Miami Police car, allegedly driven by Lopez, is seen weaving in and out of traffic at high rates of speed as Trooper Watts gives chase with lights and sirens blaring.
It takes nearly seven minutes before the car pulls into the median and stops.That’s when Trooper Watts comes out with her gun drawn and barking orders at Lopez.
“Put your hands out that window right now! Put your hands out the window! I’m serious,” Watts yells. “Get out, get out of the vehicle! Turn around, turn around, right now!”
Trooper Watts pushes Officer Lopez up against his marked police car and handcuffs him behind his back.
Lopez begins pleading with Tropper Watts.
“Ma’am, I apologize, I was on my way to an off-duty…I’m late for work,” says Lopez, who is still wearing his uniform. “I didn’t know you were stopping me, officer.”
“What? You’re over 120 miles per hour!” Watts replies.
“I never saw you,” Lopez says.
“How do you not see a car with blue lights in the dark?” Watts asks.
“Ma’am, with all due respect, I don’t…” Lopez begins.
“You don’t respect me sir, you don’t respect these people out here,” Trooper Watts says.
Lopez tries to explain that he was on his way to an off-duty job at a Coconut Grove school.
“It’s a private school but there’s some high-end people there. I had to get there by 7 o’clock and I didn’t think I was gonna make it,” he says.
At one point, Lopez begins to complain about the handcuffs around his wrists.
“Honestly, the handcuffs are not necessary ma’am, I’m very cooperative,” Lopez insists.
“You know what, to me, you are a criminal,” Trooper Watts replies. “You scared me to crap. I thought that police car was stolen.”
“I’m a police officer, I would never handcuff you, never, another police officer,” Lopez says.
“You would never catch me doing this, trust me on that one,” Watts replies.
Watts then seems to imply that other Miami cops also speed through the area.
“This is not a first time occurrence with y’all. Y’all come from that way all the time, this Miami police car and we never catch it,” she says. “It’s not excusable, there’s no job, no off-duty job, nothing that important.”
Lopez was criminally charged with reckless driving, a second degree misdemeanor, and released. The FHP is still investigating.
Miami police told the Miami Herald that they are investigating the case.
“We learned of the incident the day it happened and immediately sent our internal affairs officers to contact the Florida Highway Patrol,” said Manuel Orosa, acting Miami police chief. “We are investigating administratively.”
Attached is the full 49 minute video of the traffic stop by Trooper Watts of the Florida Highway Patrol. Opinion, please?