Finkelstein: Six Cops Should Be Charged For Bad Arrests.


A Coral Springs Officer arrested a homeowner while he was negotiating a mortgage modification.  The officer then bought the house from the lender while the man was in jail.

Public Defender Howard Finkelstein said this week the case of Coral Springs Officer Tim Coker was just one of five alleged cases of police misconduct to justify unlawful arrests.

Finkelstein has asked State Attorney Mike Satz to prosecute the six officers.

In several cases, the officers were caught by using computer technology.

“We all know (what) has been happening to my clients for years – illegal and unjustified stops by law enforcement for DWB (driving while black)…Technology shed light on an ugly fact: some police officers lie to justify the means to an end,” Finkelstein wrote in a letter to Satz.

The cases of alleged wrongdoing by officers include :

* Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Marc Berman said he checked the tag of a vehicle on April 3 and found that the owner did not have a valid driver’s license, justifying a traffic stop.   The driver was arrested when the deputy claimed he found an active arrest warrant.

A check of the state archived report system in Tallahassee found that Berman never checked drivers license information prior to the traffic stop.

The case was dropped by prosecutors.

*  Hallandale Officer Chris Goulding said he stopped a van after a check of the tag indicated the driver had a suspended license.  The driver was jailed.

The van was registered to the driver’s wife, whose license was suspended.  There was no way for Goulding to know the driver also had a suspended license before the traffic stop.  A judge granted a motion to supress.

* Coral Springs Officer Tim Coker saw a man leaving a house and searched him. Several prescription drugs were found and the man was arrested.

The defendant had been in the house at the invitation of his wife.  He told the officer the couple was in negotiations with a bank to modify their mortgage.

“By arresting (the defendant), Officer Coker had prevented him from doing anything related to further negotiating with his mortgage lender,” states Finkelstein’s letter to Satz.

The defendant was arrested May 4, 2010.  A few months later while the defendant remained in jail, Coker contacted the lender and purchased the property out of foreclosure, according to the letter.

Coker refused to answer questions during a deposition about the house, saying it was his personal business.

“When presented with these facts, this case was dropped by the State. This case is also under review by the Coral Springs Police Department/Internal Affairs,” states Finkelstein’s letter.

* Fort Lauderdale Officers Ian Sandman and Jose Dejo said they ran the tags of a vehicle before stopping it and charging the driver with driving with a suspended license.

A check of the state system disclosed the tag was never run prior to the traffic stop.

The case was dismissed.

* Officer Jefferson Alvarez in a probable cause affidavit said that he observed the defendant in an abandoned gas station, ran the tag and found out the driver’s license was suspended.

The defendant’s explanation that he had pulled in to change a tire was ignored. He was arrested.

A check of the state system indicated another officer ran the tag.  A check of a GPS system indicated two officers arrived on the scene before Alvarez. The officers allowed Alverez to take credit for the arrest.

“I urge you to use the power conferred on you by virtue of your position to prosecute police officers who lie,” Finkelstein wrote to Satz.

22 Responses to “Finkelstein: Six Cops Should Be Charged For Bad Arrests.”

  1. History Lesson says:

    What about the durgged out attorney who slammed his car into a police car with a briefcase full of drugs (enough to possibly have been trafficing if I am correct?) and was given many second chances from Satz, the Feds and others in law enforcement that he now rails against. So Howard what is the status of these officers in their IA cases? have they been fired by their departemnts? Opps, sorry Howard, dare I question your version of events. Interesting that you can beg and get a pass on your criminal conduct almost killing two cops while you were drugged out of yor gord but all LEO’s should be hung by the nearest tree.

  2. Come on Buddy says:

    Come on Buddy did you really cave to the pressure of Finkelstien and his boy at Jaab and write this after they ripped you for writing a pro satz article?

  3. Lady Law says:

    Black and Hispanics are surely targeted by bad cops. So are attractive women.
    I have been told I am attractive. I have been stopped by officers twice this year for no good reason. They started to make a pass at me, one even asking for my telephone number right up front. When I quickly mentioned I was an attorney, they mumbled something about my driving and let me go. I can only imagine what happens to women, especially young women, who are not attorneys.
    I hope Howard does not ignore women in his quest to clean up the courthouse.

  4. Sam the Sham says:

    Sounds like good cop instincts to me. They can figure out who the criminals are likely to be just by looking at them and Finkelstein gets mad because his clients look like criminals.

    Lady Law, I guess you just can’t take a compliment. The cops obviously liked you, what is the big deal? Come off your high horse. There are damn few men that would be insulted if they were pulled over by a female cop for the same reason.

  5. Ghost_Wayne_Thrasher says:

    Thank you Buddy for focusing on a very important but long ignored issue. Behaviors of cops in South Florida (SF) are similar to third world cops. Often times very unprofessional, rude and biased to race and or religion. SF cops have an attitude that they are above everything by virtue of their blue dress, badges, and guns. They should remember that they are simple public servant and paid for by the public tax money.

    I think Mr. Finkelstein is doing what a public defender should do. These cops must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law no question. Cops should be the protectors of law not the breakers of law and all these incidents highlight the problems within the Police Department in SF.

    Mr. Finkelstein and Buddy, I have heard complains that cops in SF are also disproportionately targeting Muslims (for no apparent reason) in addition to Blacks and Hispanics. This is especially true to those Muslim women who are easily identifiable by their head scarf. Could you please look into this issue as well in the future? I suspect this type of civil rights violation is happing silently as Muslims are now an easy and cheap target.

  6. Real Deal says:

    Just as an aside, 9 of Bob Norman’s last 20 posts have to do with Scott Rothstein — who nobody gives a shit about anymore.

    Of the balance, there is one interesting story about the Police Women of Broward, which was generated by Howard Finklestein, and some basic information about the new school superintendent’s salary which is public record.

    Why this continued mancrush on Rothstein? Norman has nothing more to write about. Nobody will speak to him anymore. His hack style doesn’t cut it in a professional environment. The end is near Bob.

    Meanwhile Buddy’s blog keeps getting better. The reason? Class acts always win.

  7. Sending good thoughts says:

    Maureen Dinnen suffered a bad fall this week causing substantial damage to her knee, she will be laid up for awhile, please send her your prayers and well wishes for a speedy recovery.

  8. Finkelstein Hates White People says:

    If you aren’t black or Spanish, Howard Finkelstein hates you. He is more concerned about the “rights” of the criminal minority of minorities than working people, home owners and businesses who are victimized. He puts on a good face on TV for public relations and at the same time he is screwing us all.

  9. Sam the Sham says:

    It is funny how Howard never lets the TV camera see his pony tail. He does not want viewers (or voters) thinking he is some kind of weirdo.

    Too late, Howard!

  10. Mister Courthouse says:

    I am far from a liberal, a Republican and I probably wouldn’t vote for Howard Finkelstein if given a decent choice.

    That said, I can’t believe how he is being attacked here for doing his job and standing up for the Constitution. Police officers shouldn’t lie and lying by them should not be tolerated. Ever. Howard is right.

  11. Sam the Sham says:

    My Dear Mr. Courthouse,

    What a joke! You condemn cops for lying when ignoring the fact that lying and obfuscation is an attorney’s stock in trade. Without his ability to exclude evidence, baffle jurors with junk science, his twisting of facts and other assorted bull shit, most lawyers would starve to death.

  12. The Truth says:

    The truth is Bob Norman (and his wife Brittany “I really am a journalist” Norman) have lost any credibility as journalists over the last 2 years. Buddy, you have gained what they lost. Keep telling the truth, admitting when you have a bias, and pushing out interesting blog posts. Now, as to Mr. “I used to be a cokehead, but now I’m just selfrighteous” Howard Finkelstein, he is a joke. In political circles, he is laughed at. Problem for him is– he just doesn’t see it. Rumor has it someone is preparing to run against him…… It will be very interesting.


    Let’s not get in a debate about Bob Norman and his wife, Britt Wallman.

    He does his thing and I do mine.

    I will add that Britt and I worked together on many stories. She is a real journalist and a damn good one.
    Britt has no control over how the Sun-Sentinel changed since I was there.

  13. Frank White says:

    That’s what happened last time, except the cokehead turned out to be his opponent. He was busted with cocaine at the airport when he was flying to file his paperwork in Tallahassee!

  14. Broward Resident says:

    I just went to look and it is now 10 stories of the last 20 about Rothstein. I had not noticed until Real Deal’s post. That does seem like overkill on Norman’s part. Meanwhile this blog has different story lines all the time. Good observation.

  15. Isnt it obvious... says:

    Everyone that was arrested deserved to be arrested. Had these “model citizens” not had warrants, been in possession of drugs or been driving on a suspended license, they would have been on their merry way in short order.

  16. debi glenn says:

    Tim Coker is that the same cop that his son took patrol car and pulled people over ? same name maybe an uncle ? Bad Cop all thruout Broward County … Lots of Innocent People in Jail Remember the homeowner in Davie/Hollywood .. who was shot and killed and his sons girlfriend had a nickle bag of pot ? Gee People have no memory if it does not happen to them !

  17. Annemarie says:

    I am too, a victim of marc berman deputy bso pompano falsifying police report and lying about probable cause, it’s costing me a fortune, but i have an attorney and will persue legal means, hopefully thru help me howard since he’s FAMILIAR WITH these incidences

  18. insider says:

    WHat do you think of Sandman and Dejo now?

  19. insider says:

    “It was a mistake, but the first check I did for the attorney was with the right number and this error doesn’t change the outcome,” Smith said. “The deposition testimony is not true and the owner of the car did not have a suspended license.”

    Finkelstein said he does not plan to offer any apology and was standing by his investigator “100 percent.”

  20. Stacey saturn says:

    Officer croker thinks he’s slick, but I’m catching on to his little games.

  21. Kip says:

    Could Howard pass a random drug test. Say,..after a 2 week vacation?

  22. Raffy says:

    Debi –
    Different person, Coker does not have any children, and he really is a good guy. I wish there was more cops like him in Broward County. Nothing wrong with what he did!