The trial began Tuesday for a Broward Sheriff's deputy accused yelling racial slurs at a driver and taking a cellphone from her passenger who was recording a traffic stop he made.
Paul Pletcher faces charges of burglary, battery, petty theft, and criminal mischief stemming from the May 23, 2011, incident.
Neyda Osorio had pulled out of a shopping center on the northwest corner of Broward Boulevard and U.S. 441, got into the left turn lane and made a U-turn to go east, said assistant state attorney Deborah Zimet.
Pletcher, who wasn't on duty at the time, pulled up alongside them, began yelling racial slurs and flicked them off, said Zimet. After he pulled Osorio over, she said she anticipated there may be trouble, so she asked her friend to use her cellphone to videotape the incident. When Pletcher, 39, realized he was being recorded, he demanded the phone and then took it by force when she refused to hand it over.
“Give me the phone now,” Pletcher can be heard saying on the video.
Pletcher then threw the phone on the ground, smashing it, said Zimet.
His attorney Al Milian argued that Pletcher was dealing with a driver who had priors, and -- despite the video -- can't prove what she claims.
"On the particular phone that was allegedly recovered, there wasn't a single fingerprint that belonged to Paul Pletcher," he said. "They have no evidence that links them to that phone."
Testimony continues Wednesday.