Police are investigating the case of a vandalized Florida Highway Patrol trooper’s car that was found covered in human feces. They are trying to determine whether the incident is related to a recent controversy in which a City of Miami police officer was arrested by the FHP for reckless driving.
According to Florida Highway Patrol union chief William Smith, Trooper Joe Sanchez - a former Miami City Commissioner, Mayoral candidate, and current FHP spokesman - found feces spread on his patrol car Sunday morning.
Smith told WPLG channel 10, it appeared "like it might have come out of one of the Port-O-Potties you see around at construction sites."
Smith reports it is unclear who vandalized the police cruiser while parked at the trooper’s home. The recent controversy over a traffic stop involving an FHP trooper and a Miami police officer accused of driving 120 mph on Florida's Turnpike has some questioning whether the vandalism is related.
"Some people go 'Oh, it's got to be the city of Miami.' No, it doesn't. It could have been a disgruntled neighbor for all we know. It could have been anybody," said Smith. "It could have been a cousin of a cousin who has a friend who is in law enforcement and he felt like he needed to show his displeasure with what happened last month."
“It happened. Someone threw feces on the car,” said FHP spokesman Sgt. Mark Wysocky.
According to an FHP offense report, someone dumped about five gallons of human excrement – possibly from port-o-potties – onto Sanchez’s marked FHP car while parked at home in his driveway. Pictures released by the Florida Highway Patrol show the waste on the driver’s side window and windshield.
The report said the incident occurred Sunday sometime between 6:45 a.m., when Sanchez left his home, and 10:15 a.m., when he reported it to police.
“We have no suspects and no witnesses,” said Wysocky. “It’s basically done.”
During last month's incident, FHP Trooper D.J. Watts pursued and pulled over Miami Police Officer Fausto Lopez at gunpoint in a patrol car after she said he weaved in and out of traffic on the Florida Turnpike at speeds of up to 120 mph. At the time, Lopez was on his way to an off-duty job.
No one affiliated with the Florida Highway Patrol has accused anyone involved with the Miami Police Department of involvement in the vandalism. While it may have been an act of retaliation, FHP representatives said they do not believe it came from a Miami police officer.