NOT GUILTY

Your Honor, I am pleading not guilty to the charge of “running a stop sign” at the corner of Kewannee Trail and Chinook Trail in Maitland, Florida, on the morning of May 17, 2011.

(see attached Arrest Affidavit issued by Maitland Police Officer Brandi Andrews).

Inasmuch as any case can be rightfully adjudicated when the unassailable facts of an incident are too few to determine culpability and the eyewitness versions are in direct contradiction, I believe I can show the court factual information from which a rational and reasonable truth might then be extrapolated.

Outside of this I expect it comes down to he said/she said, and I like everyone else knows that the court is most likely to side with the law enforcement version in these instances. Yet, the actions taken by Officer Andrews that day indicate a lack of competence which to me casts reasonable doubt on the veracity of her report.

OFFICER BRANDI ANDREWS

The official Narrative of the incident filed by Officer Andrews is the best place to begin to compare the two conflicting versions of the truth regarding what happened on the morning,  then afternoon, and into the evening of May 18, and finally into the wee hours of May 19 when I finally walked out of the Orange County jail.

There are a number of inaccurate, erroneous and blatantly false statements in it made by Ms. Andrews, which cast a shadow on the exact truth of the event, and which shed a significantly different light on my actual guilt or innocence.

For example, the officer suggests that she pursued me soon after witnessing me run through a stop sign at the corner of Kewannee and Chippewa Trail. She states that after stopping me (for the stop sign violation) she asked for my license, registration and insurance card, to which I then informed her that I knew my drivers license was under suspension, and that violation became an arrest for Driving under a Suspended License.

Though this account is close to what actually happened, the exact truth of what went down makes all the difference in the world when considering my guilt or innocence of the charges. The Officer’s version conveniently leaves out some important facts, not surprising when you consider how inept she handles her role of public servant.

Now, your honor, this is not meant to be a personal attack on the Officer’s character, nor am I calling her out as a LIAR. But what I am saying here is important to understand when considering this case, and it is clearly backed up by the unassailable facts of that day.

MY VERSION

After seeing a patrol car facing me parked on Chippewa Trail, and knowing that there was an issue with my Drivers License (that it was in fact, was at that moment under suspension), I was careful to stop at the stop sign in question. After going through the intersection the officer fell behind me, but did not immediately turn on her blue lights. After following me a short way the blue lights came on and I pulled over.

As the officer approached me I began to explain that I knew my license was suspended and was going to the DMV to get the issue straightened out, and that I had just been on the phone with them discussing the issue just before leaving my house 3 blocks away. I told her that my license was incorrectly suspended for quite some time, but that I had just learned it and needed to show the DMV my proof.

The officer did not ask for my license, registration or insurance card as the report states, nor did she mention any stop sign violation, but asked me to stay in the car and headed back to her patrol car.

Soon thereafter a male Maitland Officer (from another unit which arrived) approached my car and immediately began to question me about “whose car it was?” When I told him that it was my Sister’s car, he asked if I had known the tag was expired. He said, “you do know your plate is expired don’t you?” to which I explained NO it wasn’t expired, but that it expires in October of this year.

He seemed puzzled, but then apparently realized that Kentucky puts a sticker on the tag of the Driver’s birth month. Florida, by contrast puts a similar sticker on showing the year of expiration. The tag had a “10” sticker in the corner (AS IN October), which WAS apparently mistook for being expired in 2010.

A long while after he left, Officer Andrews approached and asked that I step to the back of the vehicle, where she informed me for the first time about the Citation for running a stop sign. She handcuffed me for driving on a suspended license with knowledge and took me to Orange County jail.

Although I was pulled over before noon that day and subsequently arrested around 1 p.m., the Officer left me in handcuffs for nearly 5 hours, despite my continual complaints, which cut off circulation in my wrists and left both arms in severe muscular pain and spasm. I was finally processed into jail after 6:30 p.m., due to the incompetence or lack of training or both by this Maitland Police Officer. I watched in agony as she stood red-faced staring at her computer all day while dozens of criminals came and went.

Through all this time she refused to loosen my handcuffs or even hear my complaints.

Angry and exhausted, I finally walked out of the Orange County jail at 2:30 am the next morning, over 12 hours since my arrest.

The State of Florida quickly dropped my Driving on a Suspended charges when I explained to the judge about the inadvertent license suspension, and showed her the proof at my arraignment. The Maitland cop could have done the same, yet instead she spent all day on Joe taxpayer’s payroll putting ONE Joe taxpayer behind bars.

For what?

The reason I assume she made up the stop sign charge was because she had incompetently pulled me over for having an expired license tag (which I did not have), and not because I ran a stop sign. If she were going to be able to show probable cause for stopping me (and thus take me to jail for the driving on a suspended license charge), she needed to have a reason to have pulled me. Perhaps the stop was an escape goat for her original error in judgment.

Yes, I knew my license was suspended (though it shouldn’t have been).

Doesn’t it stand that I would drive extra careful after seeing a patrol sitting across from me? If you say YES, you’re correct.

Now look at the facts in this case, supported by the evidence of ineptitude. How many times does it take an officer 5 hours to book one inmate? Why was the very first question about an “expired tag” and why did it take another Officer to arrive? Why did a judge take one look at my Drivers License paperwork and dismiss my case, but law enforcement refused to hear my explanation? Why did she “fall behind” me as the report states instead of pulling me on the spot after seeing me go through the stop sign?

Who do you think is telling the truth here, and who was covering their behind? I am not guilty of these charges or I would have paid the fine and moved on.

Thank you your honor for allowing me to present my side of what really happened on May 18, 2011.

NOT GUILTY.

Accordingly, the Judge ruled in my favor (for once).
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