Little did Florida senior citizen Rosemary Brackett suspect that a simple trip to the post office to pick up medicine for her disabled son back in June 2013 would end with her arrest and humiliation.
As the 76-year-old woman drove to the Homestead Post Office in the southern tip of Miami-Dade County and began to turn into the parking lot, a car exiting was blocking her entrance.
She began to back up to avoid a collision and allow the other driver to exit.
However, Homestead police officer Brian Kennedy, who was in a patrol car behind her, felt her driving was erratic and pulled her over.
Based on Officer Kennedy’s observation of Brackett, he requested Homestead Police DUI specialist Officer Alejandro Murguido to respond.
Murguido’s report details Kennedy observing that Brackett had “Blood Shot Red Watery Eyes” along with other indicators of intoxication such as a strong odor of alcohol coming from her person and breath, and that her speech was slurred and incoherent.
Murguido’s report, which you can read here, notes that upon arriving he witnessed the same indicators as did Kennedy.
Murguido’s report details other questionable facts, including that when he asked her to exit her vehicle, he noted “she had urinated on herself and the car seat.”
He also wrote that “Once out of her vehicle, she lifted her pants legs to show me that she had soiled herself.” Murguido finishes off his report noting that she refused to provide a breath sample.
Brackett denies all of it.
“It makes me feel absolutely dirty, degraded and disgusted that they would make up such lies about me,” she said in an interview with Photography is Not a Crime.
“I was so embarrassed and ashamed of what they had written about me that I refused to tell anyone about the incident for over a year, until I realized how important it was to speak up to prevent them from doing this to others”
In fact, a closer look at the documentation of her arrest reveals many inconsistencies.
Reviewing the police file, which was obtained through a public records request, a picture was taken of Brackett’s face.
In this picture, we can clearly see that her eyes are not only white, but that they are dry as well, contradicting the report stating she had “Blood Shot Red Watery Eyes”.
A picture was taken having her sprawled out in the back seat of a police cruiser with her feet sticking out of the door as if they are getting ready to give her a pelvic exam.
The picture is of note as she is handcuffed in front and not in back. What really sticks out though is that it can be seen that Brackett has not urinated on herself, as described in Murguido’s report.
Pictures were also taken of her feet, it must be assumed this was to show where Brackett had soiled herself, however, the pictures show clean feet.
While there are many problems and inconsistencies in the record, two documents stands out above the others.
One concerns implied consent shown below, to submit to a breath test. This document ask the person if they agree to take the breath test with a simple “YES” box and a “NO” box.
On this document, the “YES” box is checked. Brackett signed it, Murguido signed it and an additional witness Officer Veronica Blanco signed it too. While Brackett theoretically could have changed her mind, she swears she took two breathalyzers at the station, which both came back 0.00.
The other is a checklist of documents to send to the jail, shown below. It shows the sending and receipt of the breath test or notarized refusal, but there is no notarized refusal or breath test, only the agreement to submit to a breath test.
Through a deal between her lawyer and prosecutors, the state ended up reducing the DUI charge to a reckless driving citation, a decision she was not happy to accept.
But now she plans to file a civil rights lawsuit against the City of Homestead and some of its officers.
More records are in the process of being obtained, however as our readers well know, not all agencies in Florida adhere to their legal requirements under the Sunshine law.
Updates will be made on this story including several branches, both catching up with the past as well as new facts as they occur in this miscarriage of justice perpetrated upon a senior citizen.
The author J. Eric McDonough, Ph.D. is currently suing Murguido in his individual capacity for defamation per se, and working on section 1983/1985 civil rights lawsuits against both Murguido, Blanco and other HPD officers including the Chief of Police in their official and/or individual capacities. His story has been documented on Photography is Not a Crime in this article and in this video.