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3 Fort Lauderdale cops charged for doing their jobs

People charged with felonies can find themselves facing serious penalties that may include prison time. Robbery, burglary and rape are some of the most common felonies, but there are many types of crime that can carry felony charges. It's not just career criminals who find themselves on trial for felonies, as three Fort Lauderdale police officers have recently discovered.

The three cops are facing felony charges that stem from an incident that occurred in November 2009. A 50-year-old man who had stolen liquor from a bar in a popular Fort Lauderdale hotel left the scene in his Cadillac. The police officers reported trying to catch the man in an unmarked Toyota Camry. After chasing the suspected criminal for less than one mile, the car containing the police officers allegedly rear-ended the unidentified suspect's car.

After an investigation, the state concluded that the policemen lied about the accident. It was believed that the car had sustained the damage in a completely different incident. Subsequent charges levied against the officers included several felony charges for official misconduct as well as misdemeanor charges for falsifying records.

At the trial, both the prosecution and the defense brought in accident reconstruction experts. The prosecution's expert testified that the accident could not have occurred the way the three cops reported it, while the defense expert's testimony concluded that the evidenced backed up their story.

Should these officers be punished for doing their jobs? This is tricky territory, because how are police supposed to do their jobs if they fear zealous prosecutors trying to burnish their reputations?

Source: Sun Sentinel, "Experts' versions clash in cop car chase trial," Robert Nolin, Feb. 11, 2013

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