07/17/2012

Video: Speeding prank gets 2 Fla. officers fired

When the driver got out of the vehicle, the officer recognized him as a fellow cop

By PoliceOne Staff

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — Two Clermont police officers have been fired and one suspended for playing an off-duty speeding prank that led to an officer drawing her weapon.

Clermont Officer Christina Fowler was patrolling US Highway 27 in March when she saw a sports car speeding through a construction zone, according to an investigation of the incident. She pursued the vehicle until it pulled over in the parking lot of a shopping center.

The driver got out of the vehicle and Fowler drew her weapon, and she then recognized him as Officer Marc Thompson, who laughed and said it was a joke.

Inside the car were two other Clermont officers, including a supervising sergeant, on their way back from playing poker at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, The Orlando Sentinel reported. They were off duty at the time.

Thompson and Sgt. Mark Edwards were terminated Thursday for department violations. Officer Dennis Hall, who was in the back seat, was placed on unpaid suspension for one day.

"[A]ll officers involved in this incident felt that the prank was not malicious in nature but was intended to be a joke," according to the investigation.

Fowler believed Thompson drove at unsafe speeds and could have caused an accident. She did not issue a ticket for speeding or any other traffic violations.

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