Kissimmee officers face charges over testimony

FOX 35 News at 5 p.m.

- Three Kissimmee police officers who were being investigated over accusations of giving false testimony in a drug case are in big trouble.   Officers Tiffany Hall, Taylor McFee and Felix Echevarria have been charged with official misconduct.    Hall faces additional charges of perjury and falsifying records.   All three were suspended without pay on Tuesday, according to a police spokesperson.

The charges come after a weeks-long investigation into inconsistent statements from the officers.  According to a report, Hall watched a suspect buy marijuana from two men outside a motel, then the two men left and the buyer went back into his room. Under oath, Hall said Echeverria and McFee left to track down the sellers while she went into the motel room “alone,” because she said she could smell pot from outside the room. That’s when she said she found the suspect with a felony amount of pot.

Prosecutors have since dropped charges against the defendant, saying the testimony given by the officers was inconsistent with surveillance video from the motel, and as a result, the State Attorney's Office began a review of all cases involving these three officers.

In March, State Attorney Jeff Ashton told FOX 35 that Hall’s testimony of what happened --  backed up by officers Echeverria and McFee -- was disputed during a subsequent hearing.  “The inconsistency came up during a motion to suppress, where the defense was challenging the process by which the officers found the drugs,” he added.

"They're very professional individuals in here and it hurts.  I walked by an officer today who was asking me questions and she was crying," explained Kissimmee police spokeswoman Stacie Miller.  "They are very proud of this department, and when somebody does something that would shock the department like this, it effects all of us."

All of the officers have been disciplined before, according to records.  Echeverria, 49, had been fired by the department in 2010 for reportedly wasting time, abusing lunch breaks, and not performing assigned duties. He was later rehired.  Hall, 29, and McFee,24, had been disciplined for car crashes on the job.
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