Four Hollywood, Florida, police officers and a crime scene technician are suspended with pay — and probably contemplating career changes — after being recorded by a police dashboard camera conspiring to frame a civilian driver for a crash. Alexandra Torrensvilas was arrested for driving under the influence only after a police officer rear-ended her at a traffic light, and that officer and his colleagues openly discussed, within range of the camera’s audio pickup, doctoring their stories and the evidence to blame the woman for the collision.
One of the officers can be heard saying, “I don’t want to make things up ever, because it’s wrong, but if I need to bend it a little bit to protect a cop, I’m gonna.”
Also recorded was, “We’ll do a little Walt Disney to protect the cop because it wouldn’t have mattered because she is drunk anyway.”Suspended in the incident are Officers Joel Francisco and Dewey Pressley, Sgt. Andrew Diaz, community service Officer Karim Thomas and crime scene technician Andrea Tomassi.
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Besides blowing the DUI case against Torrensvilas out of the water (charges were dropped,) the officers have compromised every case on which they worked. Since they’re on record falsifying testimony, past and present cases in which they testified or were scheduled to testify will have to be reviewed. Some convictions may be overturned and pending charges will likely be dropped.
Broward County Chief Public Defender Howard Finkelstein has also called on state investigators and the FBI to get involved.
Up for discussion: The potential benefit to be had by making sure that all police conversations are recorded.
This article was posted: Monday, August 3, 2009 at 11:20 am