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. 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 ?

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. @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…

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

    • @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!

  8. @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.”

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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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