Miami police and Florida Highway Patrol troopers appeared to be locked in a feud ever since a trooper pulled over a cop and cuffed the officer for speeding.
The latest incident occurred last weekend when Florida Highway Patrol trooper Joe Sanchez found his car covered in human feces.
“We really think what happened to Trooper Sanchez’s car was just another isolated incident,” said Sgt. Mark Wysocky, spokesperson for the Florida Highway Patrol. Wysocky said there were no suspects or witnesses.
The reputed tension between the two agencies began last month when Trooper Donna Watts pulled over off-duty Miami police officer Fausto Lopez, who was reportedly speeding over 120 mph in a marked police car, according to Watts’ police report. Lopez was hurrying to his second job and in Miami officers are allowed to take patrol cars home with them.
She pulled her gun and handcuffed Lopez, charging him with reckless driving.
The incident is still under administrative review, however Watts’ action drew fire from Sgt. Javier Ortiz, the vice president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police.
“If the police video would have shown a regular citizen being stopped for speeding and a gun was put in their face… the public would rule her behavior as excessive force and they would be outraged,” Ortiz said.
Earlier this week, Officer Thomas Vokaty appeared to reciprocate, pulling over a Florida Highway Patrol trooper on a turnpike outside of the city limits, an area that was not within Vokaty’s jurisdiction.
Sources told WTSP-TV that Vokaty said to the trooper something along the lines of: “How does it feel to be pulled over?”
The officer said he wanted to warn the trooper he was speeding, said Interim Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa. But on Thursday Orosa announced Vokaty would face disciplinary action.
Wysocky said he believed the traffic stop was an isolated incident.
“There are certain officers who disagree with what happened, but I don’t believe it’s a feud,” he said. “This is an unfortunate situation for both agencies.”