Tag Archives: broward county

Florida Officer with Violent History Interferes with Copwatcher Filming Police Brutality in Public

Officer D. Lade Obstructing Legal Filming Fort Lauderdale Police Beating Video

Recently, Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Derek Lade attempted to prevent a copwatcher from legally filming the police. Back in 2008, Lade was involved in a high profile case in which video vindicated a man who had been beaten and falsely arrested by the police.

Note: The video and description included within this post was shared with Nevada Cop Block via an anonymous reader submission. If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

The first section of this post and the video embedded under it consist of the original anonymous submission. In the video, a copwatcher begins filming the arrest of a man, whom he claims to have seen being assaulted by Fort Lauderdale police. Officer Derek Lade, who is moonlighting as security at a local bar at the time, notices the man filming and begins trying to prevent it, (Just in case one of the officers making the arrest happens to be a Bad Apple and feels the need to get a little physical.)

Officer Lade begins with the common tactic of trying to stand in between the cop watcher and the arrest to block the camera. Then he begins going through the typical roll call of police tactics to prevent filming. First, he starts berating the cameraman with things that he thinks will hurt his feels. Then he threatens to confiscate his cell phone because it is needed for “evidence.”

Next, he moves on to claiming that the public sidewalk is “my property” and therefore the man filming is trespassing. The trespassing claim is accompanied by demands to show ID. (He did, however, somehow miss the incredibly effective tactic of taking photos or video of people that generally don’t really mind being recorded.) The person making the submission also claims that the harassment, including an illegal physical detention, continued off camera afterwards.

After doing a search on the Google to see if there was additional background or images related to this story, I discovered that Officer Derek Lade does in fact have a history of violence during his career as a cop. Not only that, but it’s rather obvious that this previous experience, no doubt, taught Lade the importance of trying to make sure there are no digital witnesses available whenever people are getting their head dropped onto the hood of a police car or otherwise abused.

The second section below details an incident that happened in Dec. of 2008, in which Lade and two other officers assaulted a man. As is typically the case, after they attacked the man Officer Lade lied and claimed on his official police report (otherwise known as committing perjury) that their victim had actually assaulted them. Fortunately for him, surveillance video showed what really happened. Of course, although the charges were dropped against the man they assaulted, the cops were punished in no way whatsoever for their actions.

Officer Involved: Officer Derek Lade
Department Involved: Fort Lauderdale Police Dept.
Dept. Facebook Page: Fort Lauderdale Police on FB
Dept. Twitter Account: @FLPD411
Department Phone No.:
(954) 828-5700

Interfering With a Copwatcher Legally Filming an Arrest

After seeing police officers slam a handcuffed man’s head into the hood of their squad car, I started filming them. Officer D. Lade was there to try to prevent me from filming. Usually he is busy talking to drunk girls outside of the bar, so I will give him credit for actually trying to do police work for once.

After I stopped filming, he continued to harass me and even grabbed my wrist refusing to let me leave. Luckily I know the owners and bouncers who vouched for me and he let me leave the property, but threatened to arrest me if he saw me downtown again that night. This happened in downtown Fort Lauderdale, in front of Fat Cats (a local club).

Officer Lade Interfering With a Man Legally Filming The Police

Beating an Innocent Man Then Lying and  Falsely Arresting Him

As stated earlier, Officer Lade learned the value of not having video available all the way back in 2008. At that time Lade along with Fort Lauderdale Police Officers Stefan Silver and Steve Smith were in the process of breaking up a fight when a man named Joshua Daniel Ortiz had the nerve to question their technique as he got onto a nearby elevator with friends.

Apparently, Ortiz made the mistake of asking Officer Lade what his problem when he was confronted by the officers. According to Ortiz, Lade responded that he would “show him what a problem is” and shoved him backwards. Officers Lade, Silver, and Smith then proceeded to beat Ortiz after pinning him in the back of the elevator. In the meantime, several other officers stood blocking the door of the elevator and intimidating Ortiz’s friends.

As a result, Ortiz suffered black eyes, a broken nose, and other facial bruise. In the mind of Lade and the other officers, that wasn’t sufficient punishment, though. Instead they lied and claimed that Ortiz had initiated the altercation and assaulted them. Based on their police reports (which are considered sworn statements), Ortiz was charged with aggravated battery against an officer. That felony charge, obviously, could have had a devastating effect on Ortiz’s life.

Via the Orlando Sentinal:

“They were just sitting there watching my life go down the drain with those charges,” Ortiz said Wednesday. “I’ve been going crazy thinking my life is over. It’s barely started and it’s over.”

The looming legal charges delayed Ortiz’s enrollment in college classes, he said.

Fortunately for Ortiz, however, the hotel that he was in when the attack took place had surveillance cameras, including within the elevator. That video footage (embedded below) showed what really happened and it was dramatically different than the lies Officers Lade, Silver, and Smith had written in their reports. So those false charges were dropped.

Of course, in spite of them not only having assaulted a citizen, filed false charges against him, and committed perjury by lying in a sworn statement to justify that assault and the false charges, there were absolutely no consequences for Lade or any of his cohorts. Which is why Officer Derek Lade is still out there in Downtown Fort Lauderdale threatening innocent copwatchers to cover up for other Good Cops while they smash the heads of people they are arresting onto car hoods.

Personally, I can’t see any way that could eventually go bad.

News Coverage of the Beating and False Arrest

Surveillance Footage From the Elevator

Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:

Fort Lauderdale Police Issued Parking Tickets to Car With Dead Man Inside it for Four Days

For four days, Jacob Morpeau’s dead body sat inside an SUV on a Fort Lauderdale street and during that time parking enforcement officers continuously added parking tickets to the windshield of his car. Two of the tickets were written within three minutes of each other and one of the “meter maids” cited the car for two expired meters, because the vehicle’s front end was extended slightly into the space in front of it.

The Revenue Generation fest may have continued indefinitely if a woman, who happened to walk past, hadn’t become curious about the stack of tickets attached to the SUV. That curiosity led Carolyn White to actually look inside the car, something that apparently had never occurred to any of the parking enforcement officers in all that time. That’s when she saw Morpeau slumped over in the driver’s seat.

Via the Sun-Sentinel:

The Isuzu was parked on the north side of Southeast Sixth Street, west of Federal Highway near the Savor Cinema, according to copies of the tickets the city provided.

Two of the tickets were written within three minutes, and just six hours before White saw Morpeau’s body inside the SUV. The same parking officer cited the Isuzu for two expired meters, perhaps because the SUV’s front end was in part of the next parking space.

White said about seeing the tickets and looking into the car, “I was being nosy. I never let the meter man catch me. I never got a parking ticket and I wanted to know why somebody else got caught. And that’s what made me look inside.”

fl-lauderdale-dead-man-parking-ticketsShe said she saw a walker in the back seat of the Isuzu and was curious about why someone who needed it would leave it behind. And, she said, she wonders why a parking officer didn’t see what she saw.

“I can understand why the meter person probably didn’t see him from the driver’s side,” said White, who had been parked nearby, waiting for a friend who had business at the courthouse.

“He was underneath the steering wheel, his head was in the middle of the seat, between the two seats,” White said. “But you could see him on the passenger’s side. That’s how I seen him, from the sidewalk.”

After White’s discovery, she said her screams in the middle of Sixth Street drew Kevin McGoey, owner of Kevin’s Bail Bonds, from his business’ green cottage that is across Sixth Street from where the Isuzu was parked. His staff called 911, he said.

“It was sad,” McGoey said. “The guy was probably sitting there all weekend.”

The City of Fort Lauderdale was considerate enough to dismiss the parking tickets after Mr. Morpeau’s inability to properly feed the meters was established.

(#NotTheOnion)

Suspended Deputy With History of Excessive Force Investigations, Named in Two Federal Lawsuits

Broward County Deputy With K9Broward County Sheriff Deputy Gerry Wengert, a K-9 officer, is already suspended for investigation of excessive force has now been named in two federal civil rights lawsuits. He already has a rather long history of excessive force complaints during his career as a police officer, including two fatal shooting of suspects and another of a pet dog. So it should come as no big surprise that the lawsuits also involve allegations of excessive force, including allowing his dog to attack suspects who had already surrendered. Another case involves a man who “aggressively stared” at Wengert, who then found an excuse to pull him over and subsequently beat him.

According to “Local10.com” in Miami:

Robert Arciola InjuriesWengert was suspended in July for his actions in a case involving Robert Arciola, whose face is shown grotesquely swollen in his mug shot after Wengert admittedly struck him repeatedly after a February aggravated assault arrest.

Wengert wrote in reports that when he decided to replace Arciola’s handcuffs, the suspect struck him in the chest, forcing Wengert to punch him twice in the face. But another deputy present later came forward claiming that Wengert was in the wrong, prompting the investigation and the suspension of Wengert and three other deputies who were there when Arciola was injured.

In March, a federal lawsuit was filed against Wengert and Broward Sheriff Scott Israel alleging excessive force was used by deputies, including Wengert. Humberto Pellegrino and Pedro Claveria, both of Miami, say they were mauled by a BSO dog after they surrendered to deputies when they were caught painting train cars in Pompano Beach.

The K-9 that attacked them was handled by Detective Davis Acevedo, who claimed they refused to come out from under a train, something both men adamantly dispute. The men say Wengert was the “ringleader” that night, egging on the dog to “eat” them and making sure the dog did as much damage as possible.

Wengert Broward County Leg InjuryPellegrino’s leg was left looking more like the he was the victim of a shark attack than a dog bite. The men’s attorney, David Brill, described the wounds as “tantamount to a knife wound in battle.”

“I was terrified of this guy,” said Claveria, who suffered deep wounds to his arms in the attack. “I could see the look in his eye, he just looked like he was an animal, just stalking prey.”

Their lawsuit is the second active federal case filed against Wengert. The other involves injuries sustained by Kevin Buckler, whose face was fractured during an encounter with Wengert in 2010.

In reports, Wengert claimed Buckler, who was 21 at the time, “aggressively stared” at him at a convenience store before he pulled him over for allegedly playing his radio too loud. Wengert claimed Buckler refused to get out of the vehicle, flicked a cigarette at him and resisted arrest. The lawsuit alleges Wengert yanked Buckler from the car, smashed him against the vehicle, and then beat him severely with his fists.

“I look at that man and think to myself, ‘he’s lucky to be alive,'” said Brill, when he was shown photos of Buckler’s injuries, which left both eyes swollen shut.

Kevin Bucker InjuriesBrill stressed in his federal complaint that Wengert had been the subject of several internal investigations, and has shot and killed two suspects, shootings that have been deemed justified. There were allegations, among others, that Wengert failed to document neck bites inflicted by his K-9 on a suspect, and that he once improperly shot and killed a family’s pet dog while searching for another suspect. He was exonerated in both of those cases.

Wengert refused an interview request, but his attorney Eric Schwartzreich said he is confident that he will be exonerated in the Arciola case. He added that his client stands by his work as a deputy.

“He’s a tough cop and he’s an effective cop,” said Schwartzreich.

And then there was the criminal charges, filed by BSO, that he improperly sicced a dog on a teenager who had a run-in on the road with his girlfriend and then lied about the incident in reports. When he was acquitted by a jury, he was reinstated and put back on the road. A BSO spokeswoman said that without a conviction the agency had no grounds to terminate him.

But Brill alleges in his lawsuit that Israel is culpable for allowing Wengert to remain on the force.

“This man has no right to be wearing that badge,” said Brill. “This man has no right to be calling himself a law enforcement officer and running the streets the way he has. It’s despicable.”

Shockingly enough, he was even turned in by one of the other officers present in the first case. The other three officer, who stood there and watched him attack a handcuffed man, are also currently on suspension. It’s a paid suspension, of course. The attorney who represents the plaintiffs in the lawsuits points out how that and a previous case, in which a police detective was punished with a demotion by Broward County Sheriff after he turned in another police officer had allowed a dog to attack a defenseless suspect, actually encourages cops to use excessive force:

In the lawsuit, he points at the case of Jeffrey Kogan, the BSO detective who was demoted to deputy by Israel’s administration after he told a prosecutor that a Fort Lauderdale police officer had sicced his K-9 on a homicide suspect after he had surrendered. Kogan sued over the demotion and won at trial, though the verdict was thrown out due to juror misconduct and the case is expected to be tried in court again.

Deputy Wengert Excessive Force K9“Nothing tells K-9 officers that they will not be held accountable for the consequences of using excessive force, such as siccing their dogs on detained suspects, more than when (Israel) punishes one of his own homicide detectives for reporting such a heinous incident,” Brill wrote in his lawsuit.

“The message this sheriff is sending … is it’s perfectly OK to sic a dog on a suspect when it’s not justified,” said Brill. “And in fact, if you do so, I’m not only going to applaud it, I’m going to punish anybody who comes to me and reports you. So go at it, I give you free reign — that’s the message that’s being sent here by this sheriff.”

The attorney hired by BSO responded in court documents that the Wengert complaints were “isolated, spread out, or otherwise not sufficient … to put the sheriff on notice.”

It was after Brill filed the complaint that Wengert was suspended in the Arciola case. Wengert is now suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigation, another practice he claims rewards bad behavior, saying of it, “If I can commit atrocities on people time and time and time again and not only get away with it but keep my job and get paid and sit at home (there is), not much incentive to do the right thing is there?”

So, while Officer Wengert sits home enjoying his paid vacation and waiting for the “investigators” to declare him exonerated as they have so many times in the past (and probably will a couple more times in the future), his victims are still suffering from his criminal actions:

Pellegrino said the ill effects of his severe dog bite injuries linger with nerve damage and anxiety. He said he still has nightmares about Wengert.

“I don’t ever want to run into him again, I don’t even want to go to Broward County,” he said. “I won’t drive through there. It’s very frustrating to deal with that and to deal with the fact that nothing happens to him like he could just take it upon himself to change somebody’s life like that and not be held accountable.”

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