Paul Pletcher, Broward Sheriff's Deputy, Arrested For Racially-Charged Road Rage Incident
A Broward Sheriff's deputy accused of yelling racial slurs at a woman and stealing her phone in a road rage incident last summer has turned himself in, police say.
37-year-old Paul Pletcher was off-duty but armed and in his patrol car when he pulled over Neyda Osorio in Plantation in May 2011, according to the State Attorney's arrest warrant.
When she stopped her vehicle and opened the passenger door, Pletcher reportedly started shouting racial slurs at Osorio, who is Hispanic. According the arrest warrant, he also flipped her his middle finger, and Osorio gave it right back.
Osorio told a passenger in her car to record the interaction on her BlackBerry as Pletcher approached. He noticed he was being filmed and demanded the phone, threatening to arrest them, according to officials.
According to the warrant, Pletcher leaned into the vehicle, placed his arm across Osorio's neck, restrained her hands, and took the cell phone.
The state attorney's office says he then threw the green card Osorio had provided, hitting her in the face before leaving with her BlackBerry and driver's license.
Osorio asked a nearby parking lot security guard to call 911. When Plantation Police arrived, they found the cell phone, which had been smashed on the ground. They were able to recover the 22-second video from Osorio's encounter with Pletcher.
Directly following the May incident, Pletcher was placed on paid leave. Broward Sheriff's Office spokesman Jim Leljedal told the Sun Sentinel that as of this Monday, he was suspended without pay.
Pletcher is charged with battery, criminal mischief, petit theft, and battery.
Osorio's lawyers told NBC Miami that Pletcher did the exact same thing to another woman three years ago. And in 2007, he was involved in an accident, in which a motorcyclist died. His initial application to join BSO was rejected thanks to his questionable driving record, which includes a 1995 citation for driving 105 mph in a 55-mph zone.