Florida Officers and Criminal Allegations

September 18, 2022 Criminal Defense, News & Announcements

Working as a police officer comes with the responsibility of protecting citizens from any potential crimes. However, there have been instances where police officers are the ones accused of causing harm to others.

The Public Corruption Unit from the Broward State Attorney’s Office has charged 40 law enforcement officers with various charges since 2017. In Miami-Dade alone, there have been 30 officers charged within the same time frame. In 2022 alone, five correctional officers have been charged by the office.

“Ultimately, what it comes down to is whether the prosecutor believes the officer was justified in his or her actions,” said former Broward County prosecutor Jeff Chukwuma. “And it’s very unlikely that they’ll even go forward with prosecution, let alone file charges if they don’t believe they could do so.” 

Despite Chukwuma’s statement, there are several examples of police officers who were not only charged with a crime but also convicted. We will provide examples of former officers who were convicted of a crime, along with information pertaining to dealing with the police in Florida.

Example Cases

There have been several instances in the last five years of police officers getting charged with a crime, which includes the following example cases:  

  • Michael Martinez – Former Miccosukee Police Officer was sentenced to 10 years in prison after getting charged with two counts of extortion and unlawful compensation. On August 5th, 2016, Martinez pulled over two teenagers after they failed to fully stop at a stop sign. Martinez found a small amount of marijuana inside the teens’ vehicle and directed the two to follow him down a secluded road. The former officer warned the teens they would go to jail if they didn’t follow his orders. Martinez demanded the teens strip naked and run down the road. He then tried to convince the girl to perform a sex act on him. The victims stated they felt as if they had no choice but to follow Martinez’s orders. In October 2019, Martinez was found guilty of the two counts of extortion and unlawful compensation.
  • Alejandro Giraldo – Former Miami-Dade Police Officer was suspended and later arrested after a video went viral of him tackling a woman who had called the police in March 2019. Dyma Loving had called the police to report her neighbor, who pulled out a shotgun and pointed it at her. When police arrived at the scene, Loving and her friend tried to explain what happened between them and the neighbor. Giraldo and Loving exchanged words and things got heated, resulting in Giraldo grabbing Loving’s arm and neck. The police body cam recorded the rough take down, which shows Giraldo pushing Loving into a fence and taking her to the ground to put on handcuffs. Loving was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence—charges that were later dropped. Giraldo was found guilty of felony battery and official misconduct in a woman’s rough arrest.

Dealing with the Police in Florida

If you have been pulled over or stopped by a police officer, chances are you’re feeling stressed or nervous. Let’s be honest—dealing with the police can be distressing even if you haven’t committed any crime. That’s why it’s important to have a full understanding of your rights as well as any responsibilities you need to keep in mind while dealing with the police.

What to do during a Traffic Stop

Police Officers in Florida can pull you over for many reasons. While these stops are never fun for anyone, especially if you haven’t done anything wrong, make sure to do the following if the police are pulling you over:

  • Find a safe spot before pulling over
  • Roll your window enough to be able to speak and be heard by the officer
  • Turn off your vehicle and place your hands on the steering wheels
  • If there are any weapons in the car, make sure to alert the police and do not try to reach for them
  • Make sure to not exit the vehicle unless instructed to do so by the officer

 The rights of a citizen stopped by an officer include the following:

  • The right to remain silent
  • The right to deny the consent of a search
  • The right to an attorney
  • The right to ask if you are free to leave, if the police say no you still have the right to know why you are being arrested.
  • If stopped in a vehicle, both the driver and passenger have the right to remain silent.

Your Responsibilities include:

  • Staying calm while interacting with the officers
  • Not interfering or obstructing their investigation
  • While you are required to tell the truth to the police, this does not interfere with your right to remain silent.

If you feel as if your rights have been violated by a police officer, it is imperative that you get in contact with an attorney in your area. If possible, write down everything that happened when dealing with the officer—including the names, badge numbers, or any other information about the officers who violated your rights.

To find out more about encounters with the police and escalation, read our page here.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

Getting accused of a crime is difficult for anyone. The legal world can be extremely stressful, especially if you feel like you’re on your own. Luckily you don’t have to go it alone when you work with a skilled criminal defense lawyer. Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law Firm can help build a strong defense for your case and earn your freedom. Call us for a free consultation today at (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message on our website. 

Written by Karissa Key

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