Thin Blue Lie? Florida Police Under Fire After Tape Surfaces Contradicting Arrest Reports and Later Sworn Testimony

In Florida, two Coral Springs police officers — Nicole Stasnek and Derek Fernandes — have been accused of false statements against a woman after an audio recording surfaced contradicting their claims about a roadside arrest of Susan Mait, 60.

The officers arrested Mait after she allegedly assaulted Stasnek after becoming abusive in a roadside encounter.

It began when Fernandes asked Mait about her disabled car. The officers say that Mait told Fernandes that she was on Xanax, and that she couldn’t move the car out of traffic. Fernandes told Mait to call for a tow with GEICO roadside assistance. Stasnek says that Mait refused to give her Mait’s license. This was stated in both a sworn deposition and in her police report. She says that she warned Mait that she “would be disobeying my lawful command and would be arrested for resisting my lawful command.” Stasnek says that she blocked the officer with her hand and resisted the officers as they pulled her from the car — pushing or shoving Stasnek. Stasnek denied in sworn statements that she ever cursed at Mait or acted in anything but a professional way. Mait insisted that Stasnek cursed and was abusive toward her. She denied resisting arrest.

Mait was charged with felony obstruction and DUI — for the Xanax. She spent the night in jail and the DUI charge was dropped after drug testing. But the officers continued to maintain the obstruction allegation (later reduced to resisting arrest).

Then, after sworn statements from the officers, a tape surfaced from that call to GEICO. Turns out that in the confrontation, Mait dropped her phone on the floor and the tape of the call continued to roll. The tape records Stasnek cursing out Mait and arresting her with no warning. Worse yet, it shows both officers discussing the filing of false statements.
The 17-minute recording includes this exchange after she is asked for her license:

Mait: “Did you not see me on the phone?”

Stasnek: “Did you not see this uniform I have on? Don’t give me any s— right now. Give me your f—ing driver’s license.”

Both officers also said under oath that they warned Mait that she was disobeying a lawful command — twice. However, there is no such warning on the recording. What is on the recording is the sound of Mait sobbing and this exchange:

Fernandes: “I didn’t hear anything you said. I was in the back of the car.”

Stasnek: “I did drop the F-bomb.”

Fernandes, laughing: “I didn’t hear that. In my [internal affairs] statement, I’ll say I didn’t hear that. … Don’t worry, I will put everything I heard beforehand.”

Once again, Mait would have had little chance in this case absent the recording from her phone — another example of the importance of citizens being able to record officers in public.

Not only does the recording destroy the basis for the charges against Mait, it now constitutes a case of perjury, false arrest and a host of other criminal and civil violations. It is also a chilling example of how citizens have little recourse in the face to two officers with coordinated statements. We have previously seen such cases of coordination or falsity in police statements refuting by tapes (here and here and here and here).

Source: Miami Herald as first seen on Reddit.

35 thoughts on “Thin Blue Lie? Florida Police Under Fire After Tape Surfaces Contradicting Arrest Reports and Later Sworn Testimony

  1. How long before that tape is “lost” or accidently erased?

    Is it getting worse or ???? over time? I got busted for DWOS (driving while out of state). I got put down w/o warning while offering my driver’s license (OOS), a split lip from a rock, and some charge in ’64. Somebody got me a local former DA, who knew how to dispose of this when the officers were not in court. How many of you have been assaulted etc like this?
    What motivates you after reading this? Outrage? Professional pride? Compassion? Our nation’s future or rather lack of it?

    Who’s gonna represent this woman and the millions of other victims?
    I would guess it would be a fulltime job for the whole corps.

    Just hoping the day will soon come when we’re all wired for sound, video, and remote observance. Will the sadists become sick without their kicks?

  2. That’s not a “thin blue lie” Mr. Turley. Those are bald faced lies. I’ve read most of your links and it’s amazing to me that Dept of Justice, Congress or someone with common sense has not come up with some simple law/rule that covers these rediculous cases……. Ooops, never mind. I just realized that I used the words common sense when there seems to be non available these days.

    Police officers who conduct themselves like these two did should be kicked out of law enforcement, even prevented from being security guards and should have to repay tax payers for the costs of their training. & any problems they have caused. It seems that in recent years law enforcement officials all over are acting like thugs and getting away with it. I’m sure that the Patriot Act and the so-called Dept of Homeland (how Nazi sounding is that?) are responsible for a lot of this crap.

  3. Explains the bill of rights, and those who wrote them.

    They had been there and done that.

    Forward to the past, and back to the future.

    Deja vu all over again.

  4. Police who engage in this sort of action should be punished so effing severely that no other officer will even think about acting in this manner.

    Makes me think that, no matter how law abiding I am, I should install some sort of audio and/or video recording device right above my driver’s side window on the inside, which I can turn on when getting pulled over.

    At the very least, makes me feel like the next time I get pulled over I should turn on the instar and just ask the onstar employee to just listen and record.

    I’m generally a law abiding citizen, but I’ve had my share of getting pulled over. Most recently for having a headlight out on St. Patty’s day…

    Thankfully the local police here are, in general, great at what they do and how they do it and I had a very brief discussion with him. He was obviously running DUI checks on anyone he could (he told me as much) and my headlight gave him the reason he needed to pull me…interestingly enough he waiting to follow me for about 2 miles before pulling me over. As soon as he released I was sober (it was 12:30 am and I was returning from dropping off my fiance) he did the obligatory license check and sent me on my way.

    Had I been across the bridge in Wisconsin, I KNOW I would have been out of the vehicle performing field tests and being forced into a game of “Just tell us what you’re doing wrong and we’ll take it easy on you.” Doesn’t matter what you do, across the bridge they’ll try every trick to get you to admit something…

    Either way, its good reason (beyond public safety) to leave your vices at home.

  5. Big tree,
    Just routine hanging on your tail. You cudda been a felony drug type and would have soon noticed him and gotten nervous and tried to get away…..
    Just speculating as usual. Have stopped watching police chase programs a year ago. hrmmmm!

    Anyway, where are you? Will avoid the cow state now.

  6. Dear Jewish folks and others,

    Here is a plea for greater openness. Less fear, even if it is well-motivated.
    Here’s a, for me an ignorant person as to jewry, beautiful tale told by Levi’s mom from Tucson. She as you understand is not jewish, irish instead.
    ———————
    “Joel started Levi in Hebrew school, and I really didn’t understand the purpose or what it leads up to. Mostly I had dealt with Levi’s speech delays and therapy and getting him in Wings on Words which the Masons helped with. Years fly by and then Levi starts getting invitations to the girls’ Bat mitzvahs and the boys’ Bar Mitvahs and there is even a set of twins. All of this is new to me. These parties are extravagant. Country Clubs and Ice Sculptures and food and DJs and the kids get all kinds of presents and they give their guests special T-shirts for the occasion and some of the parties have themes, it was new to me.

    Of course, they have studied and prepared and on Saturday morning they read to the congregation and the family members go up in front of everyone, too, and read religious parts and then the parents tell a background story and it’s usually things you would never know. Megan has epilepsy, things like that.
    A friend of ours said she overheard a couple of Jewish ladies who go every week saying Levi did the best job they ever heard.
    To me, it was amazing to watch Joel spend so much money toward Levi’s party that evening/night. We had it at the Hilton El Conquistador which is in the most beautiful mountain setting, one of my favorite places on Earth it is so beautiful.

    Well here’s the thing. After the kids have their party, a lot of them drop off and you never see them again. Joel and Levi still attend, and now I mentioned to you previously that Levi is paid as a teacher’s assistant to help the little kids prepare for their Bar Mitzvah. So the rabbi asked him to participate and read the same portion of the Torah as he did 2 years ago. So philip and I will go of course because Levi blows me away. He is an amazing kid.”
    ————————————-

    Now how many of us non-jews have such togetherness to experience?
    Don’t know. Enlighten me. But felt honored to read her letter on what was coming up soon.

    Here’s one she related which might interest those so inclined in the occult powers of jews, and perhaps people in general.
    She was in Trafalger Square as a young girl and it began to rain:
    ——————————————

    “…. but when I got there it was so rainy and everyone left. Except for me and one of those Jewish guys who have the long beard and dress all in black. Generally they don’t speak to anyone–especially a woman–outside their culture. But there we were. H e told me to sit with him. It is still raining, but lighter now. He said to me, “You are the daughter of the Jews.”

    to which I said, “No, I’m not.” He says, “You are the daughter of the Jews.” And I say, ” I am from Arizona.” He said something like, “You will see someday.”
    ——————————

    Just to show, large number of relatives are common in the Middle East, Kurds, Lebanese, Assyriac christians, etc. I’m can rest assured you all can more than I.

    Today it was my Kurdish cleaning lady who told me that her relatives in Suleymaniyah have gotten rich from OIL jobs since 1991. Her father and four brothers all have houses, cars, and good jobs
    So what to get for weddings when she goes home to visit in April, is a problem.

    Hope you enjoy the view from Sweden.

  7. PS Her tale is related with her permission. She sends greetings to Rachel.
    But has no time for JT’s. Although I send stuff occasionally.
    She said the AZ bill to get your boss involved in your contraception was killed in a vote. Good news there at any rate.

  8. Not to worry! They’ll both be put on administrative leave WITH pay, pending internal investigation, which will totally clear them of all wrongdoing. This is a rerun!

  9. Fee,
    Which means they’ll be able to devote the time to whatever rackets they have on the side.

    On my business trip to Mexico, DF, on the way into town, was warned by my company greeter to avoid all parks, even in daytime. That was a favo rob place for the cops. That was in 1980. How is it today?
    I guess he’d heard that Swedes were fresh air and/or jogging freaks.

  10. WOW!!! Nothing is sacred and noone is safe anymore. I guess we just need to have a little love in our hearts for one another, stop all this hate. The hate is whats killing our entire world!!!!

  11. As is my wont I thought about these cops state of mind for doing this. All I could come up with was they were bored and have sadistic natures. In other words they should be fired as unfit for their jobs.

  12. Big tree,
    Just routine hanging on your tail. You cudda been a felony drug type and would have soon noticed him and gotten nervous and tried to get away…..
    Just speculating as usual. Have stopped watching police chase programs a year ago. hrmmmm!

    Anyway, where are you? Will avoid the cow state now
    ———————————————————————————————–

    Idealist…I figured he was looking for more than just a headlight to pull me over on.

    What’s interesting is that after the 2 miles or so, as we started up a hill another squad had a vehicle pulled over on my passenger side shoulder…as I approached, I slowed down and manuevered towards the oncoming lane (actually slightly into the oncoming lane, no traffic oncoming) as that other officer had basically flung his door wide open into the lane and I wanted to give him ample room for safety sake. That’s when I got pulled over, which is somewhat funny considering I was doing what, in fact, I was legally obligated to do in my State.

    I don’t like to indentify too much, but I’ll say I’m to the Left of the cows.

    Wisconsin is a tricky state, in my understanding, when it comes to getting pulled over.

    As I understand it, their State Patrolmen are quite inquisitive and enjoy pulling over out of staters and taking as long as they can in getting them back on the road. I also understand that if they ticket you for something, you have to pay on the spot or go down to the court house (with them giving you a ride) in order to clear up the fine. In our modern world this wouldn’t be as big of a hassle except that only about half the cars have credit card readers…and I’m told the don’t take checks.

    Now that could all be heresay, but I don’t want to find out.

    The reputation of the Townie cops just over our bridge is well established. Including personal experience of being a sober driver picking up friends at 1 am. Getting pulled over for ‘idling in a no-stopping area of the bar parking lot’ and spending an hour on the side of the road doing sobriety tests (had not a drop), getting accused of being high on pot (had never touched the stuff up to that point in my life), and having my truck and my friends searched…all without cause.

    I dislike that state.

  13. Well, you’re smarter than I, which is not saying much. but gratts anyway.

    Yeah, we read here the other day of the technique of accusing for weaving over the line—remember the long cross ex which followed like you fear in wisconsin.
    Well, obviously the door opening was to make you veer and give reason for a long cross ex beginnning with accusing you of veering. Or is veering OK in your state..

    But something about you put the fear of God into the one who stopped you. Could you teach us how to do that. You could get paid for that service. Put an ad and see how many friendly cops answer, all plainclothed of course.

    Knowing roughly where you come from tells me you folks have been persecuted by certain corporate blood suckers for over 100 years.

  14. I also have run into a cop run amok when I was younger. A report back to his station probably didn’t do much.

    Then again I have tried to investigate police abuse before, filing FOIA requests & talking to people involved.
    Until you have experienced it first hand you can’t believe how corrupt the system is.
    But Hope Steffey can…

  15. Given that senators themselves seem comfortable telling barefaced lies about what is in the constitution (a document that we readily have in front of us), and acting in a manner clearly contrary to the doctrines enshrined (e.g. separation of church and state), if our lawmakers can be so blatant during the legislative process, why should we be surprised that our law enforcers take a similar approach ?

  16. For too many in law enforcement the only thing that reminds them to be careful with their actions is money. Money and resources. If you have it they tread carefully. For most of us this goes for your local district attorney as well. The way the system is set up. Most average Americans who are innocent plead no contest and accept the minimum in fines, etc, etc. They do this because taking their case to trial is not a promising scenario. You anger an entire court and for that you will be prosecuted to the fullest. Its no wonder these prosecutors across the country boasting conviction rates in the 90%. Its set up for them to win regardless of justice. The game is rigged.

  17. It is an old sad story; The cops lie to the Judge. The judge is jaded and more than a little pissed off that so many criminals get off scott free. He is definitely siding with the cops. He swallows their BS story and books you. All of a sudden you’re a criminal and suffer in the job market, professionally and personally.

  18. This story of the two cops and the victimized woman is really just a piece of our culture. Those with too much power, and not enough accountability, protect each other every time, no matter what amount of wrong they have to do to further that purpose. THUS they look RIGHT when they stand together against the nasty mean lying enemy. A tape doesn’t change that; the cops have the guns and in a contest of tapes and guns, guns win.

    We have had irrefutable proof of corruption in law enforcement, in the courts, and in other governmental agencies for so long, and so extreme, that it is just silly any more to pretend we are any better than any of the corrupt governments of the world. We’re not better, just richer.

  19. @commoner

    You point out a judge siding with the cops, but actually its more likely that a jury would.
    You would not believe how gullible a jury can be, and how likely they are to side with the cops also.
    Everyone has the attitude that you MUST be guilty of something, or the cops wouldn’t have arrested you. (And of course THEY would never be treated like that…until it happens.)

    Like someone pointed out if the cops all stand together, it makes it seem “OK”. Most people in a jury won’t pick up on things that don’t seem right.

    Like the case I pointed out as an example, the jury heard the cop say that the investigation was never finished, because he claimed she was TOO drunk to contribute to the investigation. (Even though witnesses denied this, and Steffey herself testified that the cops falsified reports about it and that she went back to the station 4 days later to file complaints.)
    So murders are never solved? Or someone knocked unconscious are NEVER solved in Stark County? Even after they get out of the hospital?

    Then the cop testifies that there are several witnesses, but they only get TWO written statements. From the cousin that attacked Steffey & her brother.

    It makes NO sense, but the jury never picked up on it. But I did find the key piece of evidence to prove what was actually going on: (Of course the jury never saw this either.)

    As you can see they have Steffey down as the attacker in the incident report and her cousin as the victim. They were trying to FRAME the victim for the attack she had reported!!

    In the papers the cops tried to claim that it was “confusion” that caused this. The only trouble with this is that ALL the evidence says this was a lie too.
    A cousin is on tape telling the cop that Steffey is the victim. The cops are even on video/audio tape talking about Steffey’s cousin that attacked her getting arrested the month before on ANOTHER assault charge!

    There was NO “confusion”, but the jury believed the cop over all the witnesses. And the only video they saw was 6 minutes edited out of an hour long tape. After the cop had assaulted Steffey and she was cussing him out. They never saw the rest of the tape. (Nor did any of them ask about it when the judge asked them if they had questions.)

    WHY Steffey’s lawyer agreed to let the jury see EDITED video I’ll never know…unless…

  20. Malisha,
    ——it is just silly any more to pretend we are any better than any of the corrupt governments of the world. We’re not better, just richer.”

    That puts it in a nutshell. Thanks.

  21. Since I stopped owning a car in 1996, I have had zero random encounters with police, to say nothing of saving over $150,000 since. Since everything ever so slightly less awful than torture is now ready for rapid deployment against free citizens for, say, sitting in a car and having a conversation with police, I regret nothing.

  22. @James in LA

    Might be ok solution for you, but sort of misses the whole point that the cops shouldn’t be criminals themselves.

    And once abuse IS uncovered penalties should be VERY severe, instead of authorities trying to cover for the bad cops.

    Glad you have your problem worked out…just don’t try flying either, the TSA is just as bad!

  23. @John, my decision to drive has no impact on the criminality of cops. It began as a financial decision, and the value-added benefit of avoiding police post 9/11 is a bonus.

    I do not fly anymore, either. Partly it’s the TSA, partly it’s the infrastructure. One crumbles rights, t’other crumbles into dust due to neglect, hopefully while not in the air. The actual need to fly has diminished greatly post 9/11.

    As for abusive cops, it will never change. We have given them all the power, and they have no intention of giving it back.They want drones now. Will we deny them nukes when they demand them? Power does not give back power. It only thirsts for more.

    As I said, I regret nothing. We are getting to the point where “going along to get along” is not going to be enough protection for those who believe they are “not doing anything wrong.”

  24. Here in Denver there has been a new policy in place for a little over a year: lying or filing a false report are firing offenses for police officers, Unfortunately, the civil (snivel) service commission keeps reinstating them. The police department is appealing the reinstatement orders, but the credibility of cops as witnesses has already suffered.

  25. This why pigs need to face stiffer sentences for crimes than civilians get.

    The pigs lied under oath and assaulted Mait without provocation? Give them 20 years in a maximum security prison. Send a message to the other pigs not to abuse their authority.

    Instead, they’ll probably get a slap on the wrist, at worst losing their jobs.

  26. You do not need two officers coordinating false statements. One officer simply lying is enough in most instances. This happens as a matter of course. Hopefully it is a minority of officers who engage in such unethical and illegal behavior, but it happens ever minute of every day, and is completely ingrained in the system.

    These two officers in my opinion forfeited their jobs and any future job in law enforcement. If that is not the case, then the system is even more broken than ability for officers to lie in most cases without accountability.

    How many times have these specific officers lied in the past? Clearly it is not the first time.

  27. I had a border patrolcustoms pilot moonlighting for me flying tourists around the keys run plane out of gas & crashed in the ocean. When NTSb told me he was out of gas I was upset & confronted the fine example of a pilot. Lied to a judge & fabricated a story to include his boss in homestead border patrol office. I was arrested at the airport while working on my other plane. When it was time to go to court 4 witnesses came foward to refute his claims & he dropped the restraing order. But a federal officer named Alvin reinauer not only ran a plane out of gas but lied to a judge ! Fine example of a government employee,

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