The Fort Lauderdale Police Department said Thursday that three of its officers have been charged with falsifying a police report and subsequent sworn testimony connected to a 2009 police accident with and arrest of a Hilton hotel burglary suspect.
Thirteen-year FLPD veteran Sgt. Michael Florenco and 6-year veteran Detective Matthew Moceri have both been charged with four counts of official misconduct, one count of perjury in an official proceeding and one count of conspiracy to commit official misconduct – all felonies – as well as four counts of falsifying records, a misdemeanor, the police department said.
Officer Geoffrey Shaffer, who has been with the department five years, has been charged with four counts of official misconduct, one count of conspiracy to commit official misconduct and four counts of falsifying records, Fort Lauderdale Police said.
The FBI Broward County Public Corruption Task Force, which investigated the case along with Fort Lauderdale Police and the Broward County State Attorney’s Office, said in its arrest warrants that the officers responded to a reported burglary at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina during the early-morning hours of Nov. 22, 2009.
When suspect Kenneth Post attempted to get away, the officers chased him, and at some point during the pursuit Post’s vehicle and the unmarked police vehicle driven by Sgt. Florenco crashed. Detective Moceri and Officer Shaffer, who were in Sgt. Florenco’s vehicle, helped him arrest Post, police said.
They charged Post with two counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, burglary, aggravated fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest with violence, aggravated assault and felony vandalism, police said. However, the public corruption task force’s investigation found that physical evidence contradicted the reports, probable cause affidavits and sworn testimony the officers provided, police said.
The three officers voluntarily surrendered at the Broward County Main Jail Thursday after they were notified that arrest warrants had been issued for them, Fort Lauderdale Police said.
“If these allegations are true, then these three officers do not represent all of the honest hardworking police officers that work at the Fort Lauderdale Police Department,” Police Chief Franklin Adderley said in a statement. “We will continue to hold our employees accountable and maintain the public’s trust and safety.”
Police said that Sgt. Florenco, 34, and Detective Moceri, 29, were already on paid administrative leave since April 18, 2011 because of an unrelated investigation, while Officer Shaffer, 31, was on paid administrative leave since March 9 of this year because of the Post corruption investigation, police said.
Now that they have been criminally charged, the officers will be put on unpaid administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings, police said, and the police department’s office of internal affairs will also do an administrative review.
The Broward State Attorney’s Office said that charges related to Post’s alleged burglary are still pending, while anything relating to his charges involving the crash have been dropped.
The pending charges against Post, 49, are two counts of burglary and one count each of burglary with assault or battery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession of burglary tools and third-degree grand theft, according to online Broward court records.
Post’s trial is due to start July 2, and his lead attorney is public defender Kelly Ann Murdock.