Georgetown student victim of alleged police cover-up

A still from the police car’s dashboard camera

Georgetown student Alexandra Torrens-Vilas is suing police in Hollywood, Fla. after they allegedly faked a police report about an accident involving her and a police officer, according to the Associated Press.

When she pulled over to the side of the road while driving home from a party in February, officer Joel Francisco allegedly rear-ended her car. The AP reports that Vilas admitted to having a few beers at the party, and police officers slapped her with a DUI and accused her of causing the crash.

Things were looking pretty bad for Vilas—she was facing four counts of drunken driving and cited for an improper lane change—until last week when her attorneys obtained video from the dashboard cam of the officer’s car.

The footage shows officer Dewey Pressley faking the police report to protect his partner and foist the blame on Vilas, calling his cover-up “a little Walt Disney.” Turns out Francisco, the officer driving the car, has been involved in seven accidents since 2000, according to personnel records. Although Vilas’ blood alcohol content was reported to be twice the legal limit, the breathalyzer test was administered and recorded by Pressley, and thus is also under question.

Since the tapes were released, all the charges against Vilas have been dropped, five members of the police force involved in the case have been suspended. The case forced her to take time off from Georgetown (she was studying international economics) and she now plans to file a civil suit against the police, according to an interview with the Today Show.

8 Comments on “Georgetown student victim of alleged police cover-up

  1. I hear about this kind of thing happening all the time with cops. They’ve got the authority and 99 out of 100 people aren’t going to fight it, so they pull this crap all the time. Wonderful for Alexandra for standing up to it! I’m sure for every person like her there’s dozens of people who allow themselves to get bullied into DUIs or whatever.

    This is what the Gates conversation should have been about. Are cops abusing their authority? Regardless of race, did Sgt. Crowley have any business arresting a man for yelling at him? Asked a lawyer friend about this, and we DO have a settled constitutional right to yell at cops. The Fox News excuse I’ve heard of “Well he’s posing a riot risk” or “Disturbing the peace” is absurd, and reminds me of how they used to arrest civil rights leaders for not having a parade permit for their demonstrations.

  2. Keenan, I agree with you, we should get over it and, hell, it shouldn’t have been a national story in the first place.

    But since it did become one, it’s a pity race became the issue rather than police powers. Just pointing out that this story reminds me of another recent one.

  3. I too am a victim of a “Torrensvilas”, in that I was hit by a cop car (while riding a bicycle on Duval St. in Key West) and charged w/ an “under the influence” crime, only mine was BUI, boating under the influence. Not only do we have some very stupid police here, but they too are very creative writers. Biggest problem is that there’s no place for creative writing in police reports and the like. As in Torrensvilas, I was provided a video that I believe has been doctored to exclude incriminating evidence as in her case initially. My case drags on however, and I’m scheduled to go to trial for DUI in October. Key West is the most corrupt little city in America !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. @’Cops’

    “I hear about this kind of thing happening all the time with cops. ”

    Why don’t you tell us about the hundreds of cases police fraud you know about so we can take care of it? Hundreds of cops die on duty every year, it’s probably a little unfair to make a statement like that when it’s clear you’re just running your mouth for the ego boost that comes with talking in a condescending tone.

  5. “bankrupt this lousy and corrupt department and embarrass everyone wearing the uniform down there”

    More good ideas. Let’s bankrupt the entire department so there is no one to protect the city and embarrass every cop “down there” because they were all involved in this incident.

  6. Hollywood Florida Police chief Chadwick Wagner needs to be fired. If Chief Wagner does not pursue criminal prosecution of these officers we will know he is at the root of the problem with that Police Department. There are obviously systematic problems with rogue officers in his department, and he hasn’t done anything about it. We can’t let people like these officers abuse and destroy people on the streets of Florida. something needs to be done about this one way or the other. Chief Wagner leaving should be a good first step. he’s obviously not running the department because it’s out of control. Either that – or Chief Wagner is the cause of the Holly Florida Police Department being out of control. This was an egregious Civil Rights Violation that needs to be pursued in Federal Court, as well as prosecuted criminally.

  7. This happened to my dad in NY. I feel strongly that all those involved need to be, at the leat, fired. If the police officers are willing to falsely present this type of a situation (car accident in which no one was physically injured), how might they react if something more serious occurred?

  8. This happened to my dad in NY. I feel strongly that all those involved need to be, at the leat, fired. If the police officers are willing to falsely present this type of a situation (car accident in which no one was physically injured), how might they react if something more serious occurred?

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