Fort Lauderdale Fla June 1 2012 Three Fort Lauderdale police officers will be charged this week with criminal misconduct, including allegations they lied about a car chase and arrest, according to several sources with knowledge of the case.
The officers, members of the controversial street crimes unit known as the Raiders, have been relieved of duty with pay for months while under investigation by an FBI and city police corruption task force, records show.
Sgt. Michael Florenco and detectives Matthew Moceri and Geoffrey Shaffer will all face felony charges related to the arrest of a Fort Lauderdale man about 1:30 a.m. Nov. 22, 2009, according to the sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Kenneth Post, 49, was arrested after a police chase that began at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina hotel on Southeast 17th Street and ended with a crash in the Rio Vista neighborhood, records show.
Hotel security officers said they saw Post break into the bar and steal several bottles of booze, valued at more than $300. The officers filed reports and gave sworn statements that Post tried to run down Moceri and Shaffer with his mother’s white Cadillac and rammed Florenco’s vehicle.
Prosecutors filed eleven felony charges against Post, but on Wednesday they went to court and dropped the five charges related to the high-speed chase, assaulting two officers, violently resisting an officer and battery on an officer.
Post, who has convictions for burglary, grand theft and drug charges, is locked up pending trial for the bar burglary, grand theft, and allegedly trying to run down a security guard. Post was caught on video breaking in to the bar three times in 2009, police said.
Ron Ishoy, a State Attorney’s Office spokesman, declined to comment on why the charges were dropped because of a continuing investigation.
In letters sent to the Sun Sentinel from the county jail, Post wrote that the officers lied.
Assistant Public Defender Kelly Murdock, Post’s new attorney, said the officers “beat Kenneth and then lied to cover up their unlawful behavior.”
“Hopefully, the arrests send a clear message that violence and perjury will not be tolerated,” Murdock said.
Post’s mug shot shows several facial injuries, and officers wrote that they had to fight him to arrest him after the crash.
Florenco’s attorney, Howard Greitzer, said all three officers will aggressively fight the charges. Moceri’s and Florenco’s names came up in the November arrests of officers Brian Dodge and Billy Koepke, who are charged with kidnapping and stealing thousands of dollars from a suspect. Moceri and Florenco were not charged in that case but Greitzer suggested their arrests were linked to “an agenda” about sworn statements they gave that were supportive of Dodge and Koepke.
“I think the state is misguided in their approach,” Greitzer said. “Mr Post … has come up with a story that I look forward to a court and jury hearing so they can vindicate my client and the other officers.”
Moceri’s lawyer, Anthony Livoti Jr., also said his client and the other officers did nothing wrong. “They were called to the scene, they weren’t even pursuing Post.”
Fort Lauderdale police spokesman Travis Mandell said he couldn’t comment on the open investigation of the officers but confirmed that Florenco, Moceri and Shaffer, have been relieved from duty with pay.