KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Three Kissimmee police officers are being investigated after officials say they gave false testimony in a drug case. Kissimmee police spokeswoman Stacie Miller said Monday the three officers were relieved of duty pending the outcome of criminal and internal investigations.
According to a report, Officer Tiffany Hall watched a suspect buy marijuana from two men outside the motel, then the two men left and the buyer went back into his room. Officer Hall then said two other street crimes officers, Felix Echeverria and Taylor McFee, left to track down the sellers while she went into the motel room “alone,” because she said she could smell pot from outside. That’s when she said she found the suspect with a felony amount of pot.
Prosecutors have dropped charges against the defendant, saying the testimony given by the officers was inconsistent with surveillance video from a motel. Officials in the State Attorney's Office said Monday they are now reviewing all cases involving the officers.
State Attorney Jeff Ashton told FOX 35, Officer Hall’s testimony of what happened, backed up by officers Echeverria and McFee, was disputed during a hearing last week. “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.
Once the State Attorney’s office alerted Kissimmee Police about the conflicting evidence, KPD said in a statement, “The officers were immediately relieved from duty, pending the outcome of criminal and internal investigations.”
After the suspension, the Street Crimes Unit was disbanded. The other members not involved in this case have been reassigned, but this investigation could have far reaching effects for many cases in this district. Officials in the State Attorney's Office said Monday they are now reviewing all cases involving the officers.
“We are now going to go through the process of looking at all those cases, to make sure that, based on this new information we still feel confident in the evidence in the evidence that’s been provided,” Ashton said.
After KPD’s internal investigation, prosecutors will decide whether to bring charges. We found that all of the officers have been disciplined before. Officer Echeverria had been fired by the department in 2010 for reportedly wasting time, abusing lunch breaks, and not performing assigned duties. He was later rehired. Officers Hall and McFee had been disciplined for car crashes on the job.