Suspended Police Officer Charged With Impersonating a Cop

Carlos Lazaro Rodriguez, 33, was suspended from the South Miami Police Department in February.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A suspended South Miami cop remained in jail Thursday on charges that include impersonating a police officer. NBC 6's Ari Odzer spoke with Joe Sanchez, a Florida Highway Patrol spokesperson, and Rodriguez's lawyer David Edelstein about the incident. (Published Thursday, Apr 11, 2013)

    A suspended South Miami cop remained in jail Thursday on charges that include impersonating a police officer.

    Carlos Lazaro Rodriguez, 33, was pulled over Tuesday for speeding an estimated 100 miles per hour on the Florida Turnpike at Southwest 8th Street, authorities said. Although he was suspended from the force at the time, he told the undercover Homeland Security agent who stopped him that he was a police officer.

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    Carlos Lazaro Rodriguez, 33, was pulled over Tuesday for speeding an estimated 100 miles per hour on the Florida Turnpike at Southwest 8th Street. Although he was suspended from the force at the time, he told authorities he was currently a police officer. (Published Thursday, Apr 11, 2013)

    According to the agent, Rodriguez was driving down the emergency lane, calling out to other drivers and telling them to pull over.

    "My window's down and he's passing me and I tell him, 'Hey, what's going on, man, what do you need?'" the agent said. "And he looks at me again and says, 'Police, you pull over." And he's got a weird look on his face."

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    When the agent pulled Rodriguez over, he saw that he was also carrying two pellet guns that were altered to look like assault weapons.

    "This guy, from what I gathered from the South Miami Police Department, was a threat to himself and others," said Joe Sanchez, a Florida Highway Patrol spokesperson.

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    A judge ordered psychological evaluation for Rodriguez at Thursday's hearing. His bond was set at $25,000.

    Although Rodriguez was once named South Miami Officer of the Year in 2007, he was recently suspended following several incidents with authorities.

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    His first brush with the law was in December when police were called to his house after neighbors reported that Rodriguez was walking around the neighborhood incoherent and brandishing his gun, said City of South Miami attorney Thomas Pepe.

    In February, Rodriguez was charged with resisting arrest and battery of a law enforcement officer, according to Pepe. This was when he was suspended from the South Miami police force.

    Rodriguez was arrested again in March, after he threatened to kill South Miami Chief of Police Orlando Martinez de Castro and Major Rene Landa for taking his job away, Pepe said.

    "He said he was gonna kill them, the police officers, but God didn't want the police officers to die that day, that's why he didn't kill 'em," said the Homeland Security agent at the bond hearing.

    At this point, police issued out a "Be On the Lookout" alert for him.

    The alert warns other officers to use extreme caution, and says Rodriguez has been involuntarily admitted to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation under the Baker Act.

    "I wouldn't agree that he's a ticking time bomb," said Rodriguez's lawyer David Edelstein. "I think he's certainly someone who needs help."

    The City of South Miami has filed a restraining order against Rodriguez after this last incident, keeping him from returning to the police department. A judge issued the order on Tuesday.

    Stay with NBCMiami.com and NBC 6 South Florida for updates.
     

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