Speeding Miami Cop Gets 100 Hours Community Service

Officer Fausto Lopez will pay cost of prosecution, could face reprimand

The Miami Police officer who was arrested for reckless driving by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper after he was spotted driving 120 mph on the Turnpike was in court Thursday where he pleaded no contest.

Officer Fausto Lopez will have to complete 100 hours of community service and pay $3,300 for the cost of prosecution, Broward Judge Melinda Brown ruled.

Lopez immediately handed over a check and if he completes the community service within six months, nothing will appear on his record.

During Thursday's hearing, prosecutors said Lopez breached the public's trust and was even seen speeding again after he was charged. Prosecutors also discussed an investigation by the Sun-Sentinel that revealed SunPass records which showed Lopez had been clocked at speeds above 100 mph 114 times in the year before the FHP stop.

Lopez didn't speak during Thursday's hearing and didn't comment afterward.

The 35-year-old was pulled over and taken into custody at gunpoint by FHP trooper D. J. Watts on Oct. 11, 2011, as he was driving south on the Turnpike near Hollywood Boulevard.

An FHP video captured Watts' pursuit of Lopez's marked Miami Police cruiser and the dramatic showdown once Lopez finally pulled over.

"Put your hands out that window right now! Put your hands out the window! I'm serious," Watts yells in the video. "Get out, get out of the vehicle! Turn around, turn around, right now!" 

"Ma'am, I apologize, I was on my way to an off-duty...I'm late for work," says Lopez, who is still wearing his uniform. "I didn't know you were stopping me, officer."

"What? You're over 120 miles per hour!" Watts replies.

"I never saw you," Lopez says.

"How do you not see a car with blue lights in the dark?" Watts asks.

"Ma'am, with all due respect, I don't..." Lopez begins.

"You don't respect me sir, you don't respect these people out here," the trooper says.

Lopez, who was charged with reckless driving and later released, hadn't been disciplined by his department, which was waiting on the outcome of the case. Internal Affairs will look into the case and Lopez could face a reprimand and the loss of the use of his vehicle for up to six months, a police spokesman said.

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