Way back in 2011, we told you about the story of Faustio Lopez and Donna Jane Watts, two Florida police officers who made national headlines over concerns of police abuse of power. According to reports, Lopez, a Miami Police officer, was late for an off-duty job. While in full uniform, he ran his marked police cruiser up to 120 miles per hour on a city freeway trying to make it to work. Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Watts was one of the cars he blew past.

Uncertain of who was in the speeding car, Watts spent seven minutes with her blues-and-twos running, trying to catch the speeding Lopez. Once she pulled him over, Watts confiscated Lopez's gun and cuffed him. Lopez eventually lost his job.

Watts' driver's license information had been accessed by 88 officers in 25 agencies over 200 times

Shortly after the incident, Watts alleges that she started receiving threatening and prank phone calls (some were even to order pizza), along with other forms of harassment including police cars and unmarked vehicles idling outside her house. According to MSN News, a public records request with the Sunshine State's Department of Motor Vehicles revealed that her driver's license information had been accessed by 88 different officers in 25 different agencies over 200 times in just a three-month span.

Watts is suing all 25 departments and the officers involved under the Driver Privacy Protect Act, which carries a $2,500 fine for each time information was illegally accessed. If every search comes back as improper, Watts is in line to receive $500,000, according to MSN. "Ultimately what it comes down to is a violation of privacy," Mirta Desir, Watts' lawyer, told MSN. "It wasn't for any legitimate purpose on the part of the police officers and it was done by people in a position of trust."

Watts' broad targeting of offending officers has some of the accused feeling uncomfortable, with a fellow FHP Trooper, Andrew Cobb, claiming he accessed the information "out of concern for a fellow trooper" and as "a matter of public safety," according to his attorney. There's also some question of the wording of the law that Watts' is suing under, with the US Department of Justice now getting involved to clarify its position.

There's much more detail to this story than we're able to go into here, but if you want the full rundown on the Watts' case, check out Watts' dash cam video of the incident below, then head over to MSN News.




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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 89 Comments
      Nick
      • 1 Year Ago
      I hope Watts takes these a-holes to the cleaners.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 1 Year Ago
      " claiming he accessed the information out of concern for a fellow trooper" How on earth does that excuse even make sense? It's hard to tell whether this Andrew Cobb really is this stupid, or he just thinks the rest of the world is this stupid.
        Vien Huynh
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        How did he qualify for a job anyway... such weird excuse....
      imtoomuch1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Go Watts! Fight these pigs! I do not expect her to receive anything because dirty pigs are in good with dirty lawyers, dirty judges, and dirty politicians.
      OptimusPrimeRib
      • 1 Year Ago
      I hope she wins. We need more honest cops like her that police the police and holds these greasy pigs accountable and lets them know they're also not about the laws they enforce.
      joe shmoe
      • 1 Year Ago
      i hope she gets the 500k.
      Cool Disco Dan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Should have gotten a promotion for being a good cop. I hope the pay day is the full amount.
      kajohns1964
      • 1 Year Ago
      Watts for Police Chief
      kajohns1964
      • 1 Year Ago
      Blasting down city streets at 120mph carrying a ton of cop equipment. Got to love the Crown Vic.
        SiRock
        • 1 Year Ago
        @kajohns1964
        No! TWO carloads of cop stuff! Yes, Gotta love them Crown Vics!
        SCOTTM
        • 1 Year Ago
        @kajohns1964
        As I understand it, he was caught traveling down the highway (freeway), not a city street. Big difference. Yes, traveling city streets at that speed would warrant an arrest.
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      Having police officers in my family, I'm not afraid to tell you that, yes, they frequently abuse power. So much more than anybody thinks. I can remember clearly when my mother and a family friend (who was an officer) were not very fond of each other. I accidentally burned my sister with an iron and that family friend (the officer) was quick to accuse my mother of child abuse because he simply didn't "like her". We also found out he was accessing her records, searching for anything incriminating. I don't have to tell you that there is a "buddy-buddy" system in most police departments, in which officers "take care of fellow officers". Retaliation, bending the laws, all that kind of activity... nothing new. I hope she does get compensated, simply as an example that cops cannot harass or retaliate against others in the workplace or community.
      Technoir
      • 1 Year Ago
      Donna Jane Watts is a great person of morals and an outstanding police officer. The officers involved in her harrassment, and unlawful access to her license information, should be fired immediately.
      NY EVO X MR GUY
      • 1 Year Ago
      Its scary how police can just look you up without noticing. I think there should be a law that if someone is looking you up , you should be notified by mail. This is scary.
      Joe
      • 1 Year Ago
      I completely disagree with "ayusuf." If there is ever someone driving in a marked police car at 120mph extreme caution should be taking. As soon as she was sure he was not patrolling on in pursuit she should assume the worst. This was a blatant abuse of power by the offending officer and he should be targeted and treated directly for such an abuse of authority. All of the threats and pranks Watts has received just demonstrate the level of corruption prevalent in the Florida Police departments. She chose to use the law to protect citizens from an abusing officer as she should have. His abuse of power should be treated with greater penalty as he was abusing the law in an official vehicle and under the premise of being an officer. No one (other than our president who continues to demonstrate a complete lack of regard to his constitutionally regulated power) is or should be above law.
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