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Prosecutors have dropped a felony charge against a Sweetwater cop who was accused of lying about a traffic crash caught on camera.
The charge of official misconduct against Alejandro Ramos was dropped this week after his defense lawyer argued that he was improperly questioned by troopers and never waived his right to remain silent.
On Feb. 17, 2015, Ramos was responding to an emergency call when he drove through the intersection of West Flagler Street and 107th Avenue. A motorist hit Ramos’ patrol car.
Florida Highway Patrol troopers questioned Ramos, who told them he was hit only after stopping at the intersection and looking both ways before driving forward. However, red-light camera footage contradicted his account.
But Ramos was never read his “Miranda” warning, which investigators are required to do before interviewing someone suspected of a crime. Ramos answered the troopers’ questions, but his statements could not be used against him, defense attorney Douglas Hartman argued in a asking a judge to dismiss the charge.
Prosecutors on Thursday dismissed the case.
“They should have never charged him,” Hartman said. “They based the case on inadmissible evidence.”
Ramos had been relieved of duty without pay, and will seek to be reinstated.
The dismissal was a rare victory for officers from Sweetwater, a department that is under constant scrutiny because of a track record of corrupt officials. This week, three officers were accused of beating and stealing from citizens over the course of several years. The trio is awaiting trial for fraud and racketeering.