Two Clermont cops fired for prank - FOX 35 News Orlando

Two Clermont cops fired for prank

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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

The Clermont Police Department has fired two of its own for an off-duty prank.  An officer was driving a private car so wildly that another police officer who responded to the call actually pulled a gun on him.

Sergeant Mark Edwards and Officer Marc Thompson lost their jobs Thursday.  

A cruiser's dash board video shows the high speed chase in Clermont.  A police officer spots a car driving wildly and pursues it.  Officer Christina Fowler guesses the driver is traveling 90 miles per hour at one point.  See the dash cam video above

The driver finally pulls over, gets out of the car and pretends to run away.  Then he comes back to the car laughing hysterically.  It turns out to be Clermont police officer Thompson.  He goes on to explain it was just a prank.

Police Chief Steve Graham decided to fire Thompson and Edwards who was also in the car.  They were driving home from the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa when the chase happened.   Chief Graham says in his 33 years as a law enforcement officer, he has never seen officers pull a stunt like this.

Chief Graham says, "I protect my officers but I also have the job to protect the public when they go off the reservation.  That's why I feel the action I took is appropriate."

Graham says Officer Fowler pulled out her gun during the stop, because she had no idea who she was following.

Graham says Sgt. Edwards should have known better.  "He's a sergeant.  He could have stopped it.  He should have said 'hey, we're violating the law, stop it. This is not gonna be good.' That's' why he is held to the higher standard."

Officer Dennis Hall was the third man in the car. He was suspended without pay for one day.

The two fired officers have two weeks to appeal the decision to the city manager.  They can then appeal a second time through union arbitration.

 

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