Medley Police officers accused of covering up crash file lawsuit

By Sasha Andrade, Reporter, sandrade@local10.com
Published On: Oct 22 2012 06:51:12 PM EDT
Updated On: Oct 23 2012 05:20:32 PM EDT

Three Medley Police officers have been fired, accusing of wrongly arresting a man for drunk driving and covering up a crash where one of the officers was at fault.

MEDLEY, Fla. -

Three Medley Police officers who have been fired, accusing of wrongly arresting a man for drunk driving and covering up a crash where one of the officers was at fault, are now filing a lawsuit against the town of Medley and the police chief.

Leovigildo Fraga said he was blindsided when he was arrested last fall.

According to the original police report, Fraga was traveling at a high rate of speed and did not have the right of way when he crashed into officer Freddy Romero. But according to an internal investigation, surveillance video proved otherwise.

Fraga said he was on his way to work and driving straight through a green light when Romero turned into him.

"I was going to work on Okeechobee and Medley. The officer got in my way," Fraga told Local 10's Sasha Andrade in Spanish.

When Fraga received a breathalyzer at the police station after he was arrested, it came back at 0.00. All charges against Fraga were then dropped.

The Medley Police Department soon began investigating Romero and the two other officers, Jorge Perez and Joseph Olmedo, who assisted in writing the report and arresting Fraga.

"It's heavy handed, it was unwarranted, and there is many mistakes in the investigation, " said Police Benevolent Association President John Rivera.

The PBA is representing two of those officers who were fired. Rivera said if the officers had committed a crime, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office would have prosecuted. But none of the officers were charged.

Instead, the Medley Police Department fired all three officers involved. Those officers are appealing the decision.

"They're wonderful officers, actually, that don't deserve this kind of treatment," said Rivera.

"Any allegation of a witch hunt, we have not seen the evidence of that at this point," said Medley Town Attorney Michael Pizzi.

Romero has been involved in other car crashes while on duty.

The Medley Police Department offered no comment on the case.

However, Joseph Olmedo emailed Local 10 the following: "We have filed a lawsuit against the Town of Medley and Police Chief Jeanette Said-Jinete which we allege among many, violations of our due process rights, violations of the town charter and violation of the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights. I have attached a copy of our complaint for your review."

Olmedo went on to write: "Court records show the driver of the vehicle involved in the crash Mr. Leo Bravo Fraga had a suspended drivers license prior to the crash due to failure to pay a traffic citation. Officer Freddy Romero had four accidents during his career three of which he was not at fault. The one accident which was a minor one he received progressive discipline and was sent to an in-service driver improvement training program. The Chief's ex brother- in- law, Officer Fernando Perez played an active role in the accident investigation that night, however he was not subject to the internal investigation or mentioned in the news story."

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