Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Donna Watts was just doing her job on October 11, 2011 when she tried to pull over an off-duty Miami police officer in a patrol car, who was driving 120 mph down I-95.
But Fausto Lopez continued speeding down the highway, refusing to pull over for several miles.
Not knowing why Lopez would not pull over after being “lit up,” Watts had him exit the vehicle at gun point.
It just got crazier and weirder from there.
The dash cam video of the incident went viral, creating a national discussion on Blue Privilege, not to mention tons of animosity between the Miami Police Department and the Florida Highway Patrol.
Fausto was eventually fired, but cops throughout the state from agencies began obtaining Watts’ personal information through the state’s Driver and Vehicle Information Database (DAVID), using that information to harass her for daring to pull over a fellow officer.
At least 88 officers from 25 agencies across the state pulled her personal information from the system that gives police officers access to detailed personal information, but is only to be used for legitimate law enforcement purposes.
The cops then used that information to threaten and harass her, parking in front of her home to intimidate her, forcing her from her South Florida home to the Florida Panhandle where she still works for the FHP.
Watts sued and now many departments are paying up.
The latest department to settle is the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, which paid her $6,000, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
It is a common occurrence that those daring to question the lords in blue, have their personal information unlawfully pulled.
The law forbids officers from abusing the system, and supposedly there are checks and balances in place to prevent abuse.
Thankfully, proof of such is easily obtained if you know where to ask. You can find out who has pulled your information on the system by sending an email.
In your email, ask for the records of every time your information has been pulled, who pulled it, what information was looked up, and the reason for pulling the information. You will have to give your name and license number, and there may be a small charge.
If there was not a legitimate reason for accessing your information, you can file a complaint and/or sue as redress for the violation.
Officers actually get in trouble and may lose their privileges to access the system. Further, you may be awarded damages, and it may be used to further show retaliation against you.
If they do this to a brother or sister in blue, what will they do to the average citizen who dares question them or expose their wrongdoing?
This form of harassment, though not well known, needs to be exposed. Let us know what you find out if you decide to request that information.