Monday, June 18, 2012 at 9:07 a.m.
When Broward Sheriff's Deputy David Wimberley arrested 44-year-old Troy Baldeo in a Tamarac 7-Eleven in 2010, he filed reports that said Baldeo was yelling with clenched fists and should be charged with trespassing, resisting arrest, and assault on an officer.
Once prosecutors saw the convenience store video, however, different charges were filed -- against Wimberley. They dropped the charges against Baldeo, who is shown in the recording silently taking a sip of coffee, and filed charges of falsifying records against Wimberley and Dep. Brian Swadkins.
"If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video, this video, is worth a million," the prosecutor said, according to the Sun-Sentinel
. "Protecting and serving the people of Broward County? News flash: Troy Baldeo is one of the people of Broward County."
He faced up to two years in prison. At his sentencing on Friday, however, he got a much better deal:
"I like you, Mr. Wimberley
," said Broward Circuit Judge Ilona Holmes. "But I do have a job. There has to be a punishment for a violation of the public trust."
He got 30 days.
Swadkins' next court date is scheduled for July 11, though it looks like making things up about suspects isn't really considered that grave of an offense around here. How about BSO Dep. Christian Benenati, allegedly caught in a prostitution sting last week by an undercover cop from his own department
? Or BSO Det. Brent Woodall, who was allowed to remain out on house arrest despite accusations he left the scene of an accident and sent menacing text messages to a witness in his grand theft case? He was eventually brought in after he was allegedly busted removing his ankle bracelet and going to a strip club, but who knows how long he'll end up in prison for.
A police badge in Florida is a license to speed.
A Sun Sentinel investigation revealed troubling practices: Police officers are not cited for speeding like ordinary motorists; off-duty speeding routinely goes unchallenged unless someone complains; and punishment can be as slight as a verbal or written reminder to obey the speed limit...
The reason? A culture among cops who seem to regard driving fast as an entitlement, and an atmosphere of tolerance by their supervisors.
There are piles of examples, the most famous being Miami officer Fausto Lopez, who was pulled over after weaving through traffic at 120 mph on his way to a moonlighting job. He could have gotten 90 days in jail; he got community service
, but only because he was even cited in the first place and got national headlines in the process.
David Wemberley, like his fellow law-breaking colleagues, was supposed to hold (actual) criminals accountable. But when it came for his turn, even when faced with obvious video evidence that he just plain old lied on a police report, he got a little slap on the wrist. Just like his fellow law-breaking colleagues.