Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Carmel on the Case: BADge Behavior
Criticism tonight from both sides about a controversial arrest of a senior citizen in Coral Springs. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero first exposed the incident and is still On the Case.
Susan Mait: "They strip-searched me. They looked between my private parts."
She was arrested for DUI and resisting arrest with violence and spent a night in jail.
Prosecutor: "The state is announcing a nolle pros."
Prosecutors dropped the charges after a recording contradicted the police version of what went on during the arrest. The incident was recorded by Mait's insurance company as she tried to arrange for a tow.
Susan Mait: "Did you not see me on the phone?"
Officer Nicole Stasnek: "Did you not see the uniform I have on? Don't give me any (expletive) right now. Give me your (expletive) drivers license."
Susan Mait: "Excuse me?"
Officer Nicole Stasnek: "Give me your drivers license right now. Come out of the car right now."
Susan Mait: "You call your supervisor."
Officer Nicole Stasnek: "I will."
Mait's initial reaction was not respectful, but Officer Nicole Stasnek did nothing to try to calm her. Later Stasnek is on tape admitting to Officer Derek Fernandes that she dropped the F-bomb, but when both officers were deposed they gave sworn statements that conflict with the recording. Stasnek, for example, said she didn't curse.
Michael Catalano, Mait's attorney: "She knew exactly what she was doing. If she had admitted -- and there was no tape -- that she used four-letter words, she was guaranteed to get an internal affairs complaint."
The police department opened an internal affairs investigation which has now cleared Officer Fernandes. Officer Stasnek was accused of "discourtesy" and "untruthfulness." Her recommended punishment: a two-week suspension.
Chief Tony Pustizzi: "I think we looked at the entire incident -- every aspect of it -- and in the end we determined what policies were violated, and we've taken appropriate actions based on those policy violations."
But the chief's decision is not sitting well.
Adam Mait: "They get to continue with their careers at the expense of the mental well-being of my mother."
Officer Stasnek's attorney says Susan Mait shares fault.
Anthony Livoti: "And then she turns around and says to a police officer in the performance of her duty, 'Can't you see i'm on the phone?' I mean, is that the way our citizens, elderly or not, should address police officers? I don't think so."
And this might not be over yet. Officer Stasnek plans on appealing.
Carmel Cafiero, 7News.
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