Thief at center of cops' trial pleads guilty

Published On: Feb 11 2013 06:11:41 PM EST
Updated On: Feb 12 2013 08:31:37 AM EST

A convicted thief at the center of a corruption trial of three Fort Lauderdale Police officers pleads guilty to four felonies.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -

A convicted thief at the center of a corruption trial of three Fort Lauderdale Police officers pleaded guilty to four felonies on Monday.

Sgt. Michael Florenco, Det. Matthew Moceri and Ofc. Geoffrey Shaffer each face four felony counts of official misconduct and four misdemeanor counts of falsifying public records.

The charges stem from an investigation initiated after Kenneth Post filed a complaint following his arrest on Nov. 22, 2009.

"This went from someone with an allegation of trying to steal liquor bottles to he's out trying to kill police officers, and that never happened," said attorney Kelly Murdock, who represented Post. "They had beat him up and they had lied to cover themselves. "From day one, Kenneth has been adamant that he was never aggressive to the police in any way."

Post pleaded guilty Monday and was sentenced to three years in prison. Because of time served, he's expected to be released from jail in a few months.

According to the arrest warrants, the three officers responded to a report of the thefts of some liquor bottles that morning at the Hilton Hotel on Southeast 17th Street and saw Post trying to run away. The officers followed him, and at some point, Post's vehicle and an unmarked police vehicle driven by Florenco collided.

Surveillance video shows Post stealing several liquor bottles from the hotel bar and three Fort Lauderdale officers arresting him.

Investigators said Moceri and Shaffer were also in the vehicle and helped Florenco arrest Post, who was charged with attempted homicide on a law enforcement officer, burglary, aggravated fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest with violence, aggravated assault and felony vandalism.

The Public Corruption Task Force alleged in its investigation that physical evidence and at least one witness' statement contradicted the officers' reports, probable cause affidavits and sworn testimony. Crime scene photos did not show any damage to the front of Post's white Cadillac nor to the side of the officer's unmarked police car. Witnesses told investigators that what they saw was not what the officers said happened.

The officers were part of the Northwest Raiders Street Unit. In November 2011, two other members of the unit were charged with kidnapping and shaking down drug suspects.

The three officers are currently on administrative leave without pay.

"You don't want those type of officers in our community," said Murdock.

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