National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

‘Just Having Fun’ … Luring Another Cop into a 90 mph Chase

From the Orlando Sentinel:

Officer Christina Fowler was working the night shift March 5 when she spotted a speeding car heading south on U.S. Highway 27 around 11:20, according to an investigative report. She tried to pull the car over, but the driver only tapped the brakes before taking off.

Fowler followed.

The video from her patrol-car camera captured the scene as the car raced away.

“Man, he’s doing over 80,” she said. And then, moments later, “Wow, he’s doing over 90.”

Inside the fleeing car were three fellow officers from the Clermont police force on their way back from a trip to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, according to the report obtained Monday.

Fowler continued to pursue the car, turning on her emergency lights when it pulled into the Clermont Landing shopping-center parking lot, the report said.

The driver jumped out of his vehicle, and Fowler drew her weapon. Then she realized it was Officer Marc Thompson — who was laughing.

As a result of that off-duty prank, two police officers were fired from the Clermont squad. Sgt. Mark Edwards and Thompson were terminated Thursday by police Chief Steve Graham for department violations. A third officer, Dennis Hall, was suspended for one day without pay.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident at Graham’s request and determined: “[A]ll officers involved in this incident felt that the prank was not malicious in nature but was intended to be a joke.”

The report continued: “Officer Fowler felt however that the driver, Officer Thompson, she was pursuing was driving at unsafe speeds which had the potential to cause a serious accident especially near S.R. 50 where there is road construction and a dangerous intersection.”

Thompson, behind the wheel of his personal vehicle, laughed hysterically when he was finally pulled over by Fowler, and said “he was just having fun,” according to the report. Hall and Edwards were passengers in the car.

Good to see some accountability, but note:

A police-union official said Monday that the officers would not comment because an appeal to the city manager is pending.

 

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