A Broward County Sheriff’s deputy is accused of pulling a woman over, then stealing her cell phone after her passenger tried to videotape the traffic stop.
Deputy Paul Pletcher is also accused of stealing the woman’s driver’s license, giving her the finger and making racial slurs.
Now Pletcher, 37, has been placed on paid administrative leave and is being investigated for armed robbery and robbery by sudden snatching, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Neyda Osorio told police the incident took place on May 23 when Pletcher began yelling ethnic slurs to her as she sat at a traffic light.
“She sees this cop waving crazily,” said one of her attorneys, Edward McGee. “He’s yelling ethnic slurs and telling her to go back where she came from. That’s when he shoots her the bird. She shoots one back.”
Right away, the deputy activated his flashing lights and told her to pull into the turn lane, Osorio told police. Worried, Osorio told her friend, 25-year-old Selvin Guerra, to start recording the incident on Osorio’s Blackberry cell phone.
She then handed over her driver’s license, McGee said, and that’s when the deputy noticed he was being recorded.
Pletcher “demanded they turn over the phone and said they would be under arrest if they did not turn it over,” according to a Plantation Police search warrant. Osorio quickly placed her phone in her purse, she told police.
Pletcher put his arm across Osorio’s neck and restrained her hands to grab the phone from her purse on the center console, she told police. She says her wrist was injured in the struggle.
Pletcher then drove off with the phone and Osorio’s driver’s license.
Osoria dialed 911 and Plantation police responded, finding her phone in two pieces a few blocks away.
They were able to retrieve the video, which is what sparked the investigation.
Plantation Police will not release the video until the investigation is complete, said Detective Robert Rettig, spokesman for the department.
The department’s findings will be forwarded to Broward State Attorney’s Office, Rettig said. Prosecutors will then decide whether to file charges.
Plethcer was not even on duty at the time.