HOLLYWOOD, FL--A cop's dashboard camera is supposed to catch criminals in the act.
For four Hollywood, Florida cops, the dash cam may have foiled their plans to allegedly frame a motorist.
The four police officers -- three of them longtime veterans of the force -- were caught on one of the cop's dash cameras plotting to place the blame for a February traffic accident on a woman one of them had hit with his patrol car.
The officers apparently didn't realize the dash cam was on.
The video shows the woman, Alexandra Torres Villa, handcuffed in the back of the squad car as the officers get their stories straight on what they are going to say happened.
Officer Joel Francisco, 36, an 11-year veteran, crashed into the back of Villa's vehicle at a light on February 17 at midnight.
The cop radioed to other officers who converged on the scene and hatched a way to bail Francisco out.
Officer Dewey Pressley, 42, arrives and questions Villa, who tells him that she has been drinking.
The 21-year veteran officer seizes the opportunity and arrests her for DUI. But the plot thickens from there.
The cops begin to brainstorm believable excuses for the accident.
"As far as I'm concerned. I'm going to put words in his mouth. She went to accelerate and a cat jumped out of the window at which point he thought it could have been a pedestrian, which distracted him," Pressley tells Sgt. Andrew Diaz, another veteran of the force. "I mean what's the chances of hitting a (expletive) drunk when a cat jumps out of the window?"
Still, the cops run with the half-baked idea and rush to get Villa to do a Breathalyzer test so they can officially say she was drunk.
"I nailed her on the video. I already hung her on video. She said she has been doing a beer party," Pressley says. "She's gonna blow."
Then, another cop debates with Pressley on who is going to write up the fabricated report to clear their police comrade.
"I know how I'm going to word this with the cat so we can get him off the hook. I'll write the narrative," Pressley says. "We're going to bend this a little bit."
Civilian Community Service Officer Karim Thomas joins the three senior officers and the four cops allegedly go so far as to change the angle of pictures of the accident to make it look like Villa swerved in front of the cop car and caused the accident, not Francisco.
Throughout the tape, the cops acknowledged what they are doing is illegal, but when you are the law, there is nothing wrong with bending it for a fellow cop, one says.
"I don't lie and make things up ever because it's wrong, but if I need to bend it a little bit to protect a cop, I'll do it," Pressley tells Francisco after reassuring him no one will ever find out. "She's freaking hammered anyway."
The cops even do a final rehearsal before Villa is taken to the city lock up.
"We'll take care of it," one officer says. The others reply: "We're good."
The police officers are currently on administrative leave pending a state attorney's office investigation.
Wednesday afternoon the Broward State Attorney's Office dropped the charges against Villa, who faced four counts of DUI and was cited for improper lane change.
Reported by: Amara Sohn/WTVJ
The AP also contributed to this report.
Copyright 2009 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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