Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Police officer fired after friend used patrol-car speaker to make inappropriate remarks to public

A Broward Sheriff's Deputy was fired after letting his friend use his patrol car speaker to heckle people on the streets of downtown Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Deputy Rodrigo Mello, 33, was off-duty and behind the wheel of his marked patrol car on the night of August 11, 2013, when he took two drunk friends on a joy ride and gave one of them access to the P.A. system. 911 calls started coming in at around 2:30am to report the police cruiser's activities.

One caller reported that the men inside the car were "saying extremely lewd and really stupid things over the PA" A hot dog vendor told deputies he was repeatedly heckled by the joy-riding cruiser that first drove by about 2am and passed by at least three more times in a half-hour. "Hey, how are your hot dogs? Those hot dogs any good?" the vendor said he heard. "I want a hot dog." Whoever was on the loudspeaker also issued catcalls to women on the street and seemed fixated on women's private parts, the vendor said.

YouTube link.

"Girls, put your vaginas back in your pants," the vendor said he heard repeatedly. Thinking the patrol car had been stolen, Fort Lauderdale police pulled Mello and his friends over in an alley after the 911 calls began streaming in reporting the errant cruiser. Mello, who was driving, immediately produced his badge and identification to confirm he was a deputy, a noticeably intoxicated friend was in the front passenger seat and a woman was passed out in the back seat.

A sheriff's captain, who went to the scene, determined Mello was not intoxicated, took his vehicle and sent him home. "It was stupid as could be and I look back at it now and it's absolutely ridiculous," Mello later said in a sworn statement. "It was innocent fun. Now looking back at it, it was the stupidest decision I ever made in my life." Mello was a deputy for nearly a decade when he was fired as a result of the incident. He was terminated back in January, and is trying to get his job back.

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