The Miami Police officer who was fired after he was arrested for speeding down the Florida Turnpike at 120 mph is trying to get his job back, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.
Fausto Lopez attended an arbitration hearing Tuesday, where he said Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa promised him he wouldn't be fired following his reckless driving arrest.
"For someone to suggest that I drove willfully or wantonly is irresponsible," Lopez said, according to the Sun Sentinel. "For someone like me who has children, I don't want to jeopardize anybody else. An allegation that I was driving recklessly is incorrect."
Orosa called Lopez "the Michael Jordan of speeding" and said when Lopez asked him whether he'd be fired, Orosa told him "It depends on what happens in your criminal case. You should talk to your attorney about it."
Lopez, who was pulled over at gunpoint by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper on Oct. 11, 2011, was fired last September after he pleaded no contest and was ordered to do 100 hours of community service and pay $3,300 for the cost of prosecution.
Lopez, 36, had initially been suspended for a month but an official reprimand from Orosa noted he had been recorded speeding some 53 times on South Florida highways in September and October 2011.
On Sept. 1, 2011, Lopez averaged 105 mph on the 19.8-mile stretch between the Golden Glades and Cypress Creek North toll booths, exceeding the speed limit by 40 mph, Orosa wrote.
On Oct. 12, Lopez averaged 90 mph as he drove the 7.4 miles between the Sawgrass Deerfield and Cypress Creek South toll booths, said the reprimand, which relied on SunPass records.
The highest recorded speed for Lopez came on Sept. 4, when he averaged 120.86 mph between Golden Glades and Cypress Creek North, Orosa wrote.
“Due to Officer Fausto Lopez’ Reckless Driving practice and pattern by continuously excessively exceeding the speed limit and demonstrating a willful and wanton disregard for his safety and the safety of persons and property of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, I recommend he receive this reprimand and that his employment with the City of Miami Police be Terminated,” the police chief wrote.
Lopez's attorney, Eugene Gibbons, said the SunPass records used to document the speeding weren't accurate and claimed the speedometer on Lopez's police car may have been faulty.
"Fausto Lopez was thrown to the wolves as a sacrificial lamb," said Gibbons. "The only guy who was fired in this case was Fausto Lopez. It's a clear case of disparate treatment."
A decision from an arbitrator who will decide whether Lopez will get his job back won't be made for three months.
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