It unfolded like a routine Miami traffic stop: a car pulled over for speeding, followed by a stern lecture on responsible driving and traffic safety. The alleged offender questioned whether he was really speeding but, thinking it best to move on, apologized and promised to slow down.
Now for the twist: it was the police officer accused of speeding. And he was pulled over by a civilian.
The scene played out in three cellphone videos posted on YouTube Friday by someone named Claudia Castillo, who identified herself as the driver. Filmed from the driver’s seat, the videos chronicle her pursuit of a Miami-Dade police squad car and the unidentified officer at the wheel.
“The reason I pulled you over today,” the woman said to the officer after he walked back and leaned his head into her open passenger-side window, “is because I saw you, since Miller Drive when you were first jumping onto the Palmetto, and you were pushing 90 miles an hour.”
“Really?” the officer responded. “OK.”
“You passed me like I was standing still,” the woman said.
The traffic stop happened during daylight as the driver chased the squad car heading east on the Dolphin Expressway, near the 27th Avenue exit. The police car hadn’t activated its emergency lights, but the woman in pursuit said she was flashing hers and honking in an effort to get the officer to stop.
The Photography is Not a Crime website appeared to be the first outlet to publicize the video Saturday. An investigation of speeding officers won the Sun Sentinel a Pulitzer Prize in 2013 after it used electronic-tolling data to show off-duty squad cars roaring at 130 mph down highways. Juan Perez, Miami-Dade’s newly appointed police director, said in a statement the department will investigate the incident “once the officer and citizen are identified. The appropriate course of action will be taken at that point.”
In the video, the cellphone doesn’t pick up the woman’s face — just her narration from behind the wheel followed by a stern questioning of the uniformed officer.
“I just wanted to know: what’s the emergency,” she said as she filmed the officer.
“Um, I don’t know how fast I was going,” the officer said. “But I can tell you this: I’m on my way to work right now. I don’t believe I was speeding.”
He said he only pulled over because he thought the car chasing him had an emergency of its own. “Everything fine?” the officer asked.
“Everything’s fine,” the woman replied. “It’s your speeding.”
With that, the officer opted not to fight the speeding charge. “Well, then I apologize,” he said. “I’ll be sure to slow down then.”
That wasn’t quite the end of it. The officer asked if she wanted his name or badge. “No,” she said. “It’s just that I think that we all should set an example.”
“I agree,” the officer replied. “Take care. Be safe.”