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Video surfaced this weekend depicting the arrest of Officer Fausto Lopez, a Miami cop speeding down the Florida Turnpike on October 11.
Lopez was spotted going 120 mph by an officer with the Florida Highway Patrol. He ignored all requests telling him to pull over, instead leading the patrolwoman on a 7-minute, 12-mile chase. The chase ended with him being pulled out of his car at gunpoint.
Turns out he was running late to an off-duty security job.
Fausto Lopez was in uniform and driving a marked cruiser. Some may think that these facts give him the right to disobey traffic laws as he so readily did. This is anything but the truth.
Though some states have excepted law enforcement from specific traffic laws, police officers must generally follow the letter of the law. This includes obeying speed limits, traffic lights, and stop signs.
The only time officers may disregard traffic laws is when they are on a call, in hot pursuit, or there is an emergency. However, they must still act within reason. Extremely reckless driving can result in a lawsuit should injury occur.
Officer Lopez was neither on duty or in the midst of an emergency. He therefore cannot rely on the above exceptions to explain away his behavior. And even if he could, driving at 120 mph while weaving in and out of lanes is probably against the department's policies.
Both the Miami Police Department and the Florida Highway Patrol have since opened investigations into Fausto Lopez, reports the Miami Herald. Prosecutors have also filed reckless driving charges. It seems as though a Miami cop speeding is a top priority.
(Source: NBC Miami)