UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Hollywood Cops "Walt Disney" the Truth to Protect Fellow Cop

JAABlog has posted a court transcript of a video that catches Hollywood cops making up a story -- or "doing a little Walt Disney," as one put it -- to protect a fellow officer involved in a traffic accident.

And the story they made up definitely lived up to their city's name and to Disney himself. The problem for them is that a video player on one of the officer's cruisers captured the whole scheme on tape that is now part of a court case. Here's the video, followed by the play-by-play of what it's all about:


Let's start from the beginning. On February 17, Hollywood police officer Joel Francisco rear-ended a red Toyota driven by 33-year-old Alexandra Torres (or Torrensvilas, as shown on her arrest report). Torres was allegedly drunk and was stopped at a green light when the accident occurred. Even with a DUI and violating the rules of the road, the accident, under Florida law, was most likely technically the cop's fault, since he did the hitting.

So investigating cops who arrived at the scene, who aren't identified in the transcript, decided to make up a story about a cat jumping out of Torres' car window, causing Torres to swerve into Francisco's path to prompt the collision.

The comments made by the cops on tape, especially by one of them, are flat-out damning. Lt. Steve Pardon, a Hollywood police spokesman, said that an internal investigation is under way and that four officers -- Francisco, Dewey Pressley, Sgt. Andrew Diaz, and Community Service Ofc. Karim Thomas -- have been taken off the road and put on administrative duties until completion of the investigation.

The transcript shows that the investigating officer, presumably Pressley, a 21-year veteran who wrote the arrest report, decided that the story had to be tweaked to protect Francisco from blame. 

"As far as I'm concerned, I'm going to put words in his mouth," the officer says on the tape. "[The defendant] went to accelerate, a cat jumped out, literally, a cat jumped out the window at which time he thought it could have been a pedestrian, which distracted him because he was concerned, and that's normal. And before he comes a stop, boom. Hey."

The other investigator laughs at the idea.

"Actually, I mean I wouldn't expect a cat to come out," Pressley continues. "I mean it could have been a f---ing kid jump out the f---ing window."

Later, Pressley takes control of the situation.  

"Just let me space the whole thing out," says Pressley. "I will do the narrative for you. I know how I am going to word this; the cat gets [Francisco] off the hook."

He tells Ofc. Thomas, a civilian, "We are going to bend this a little... I don't want to make things up ever, because it's wrong, but if I need to bend it a little bit to protect a cop, I'm gonna."

Then finally a line that I think is an instant classic: "We'll do a little Walt Disney to protect the cop because  

it wouldn't have matter because she is drunk anyway."

At the end of the transcript, the cops seem pretty proud of themselves.

"We are always on the same page; that's why we get along so well," says one. "We are good. We are good."

Again, the cops aren't identified in the transcript, but the officer who wrote the Torres arrest was Pressley. And the arrest report, sure enough, included a cat, or a "large object dark gray in color." To wit:

"Approximately 50 feet into the intersection, Officer Francisco observed a large object dark in color to have become ejected out of the driver's front window of this red Toyota," Pressley wrote in the report charging Torres with DUI, DUI with property damage, and unlawful lane change.

So now they've got Torres throwing the cat out the window. How do we know it was a cat? Read on from Pressley's report:

"Officer Francisco stated that the arrestee Torrens made a spontaneous statement that, 'It just jumped out.' At which time he questioned what had jumped out. The arrestee stated, 'A large gray stray cat,' which had been sitting on the arrestee's lap while she was operating this vehicle."

There's going to be more to come on this one, as apparently Channel 7 has picked up the videotape.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman