A federal grand jury convicted a Miami Dade Police Department detective of using his law enforcement authority to violate the civil rights of two motorists as well as obstructing justice, officials announced Friday.
Detective William Kostopoulos, 49, stole property from motorists.
The indictment also charges Kostopoulos with making misleading statements in order to prevent the communication of information about his alleged crimes to federal law enforcement officers.
According to evidence presented during two week trial, in 2013, Kostopoulos stopped two separate motorists in order to steal their money, in violation of the motorists’ rights under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to be free from unreasonable seizures of their property.
Kostopoulos subsequently obstructed justice by making misleading statements in order to prevent the communication of information about his crimes to federal law enforcement officers.
“The defendant abused the power granted to him as a law enforcement officer to prey upon unsuspecting motorists for personal gain and then lied about his criminal actions to investigating detectives,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Thomas Wheeler of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “He violated not only the law, but also the public trust.”
“This officer’s abuse of authority will not be tolerated,” said Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI, Miami Field Office. “His actions do not represent all other law enforcement officers who are diligent, hard working professionals.”
Kostopoulos faces up to 22 years in prison on these charges. Sentencing is scheduled for April 19.
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