Deputy accused of using racial slurs granted mistrial

Paul Pletcher charged in 2011 incident

By Neki Mohan - Anchor/Reporter , Ben Candea

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Broward Sheriff's deputy accused of yelling racial slurs at a driver and taking a cellphone from her passenger who was recording a traffic stop he made was granted a mistrial Wednesday.

Paul Pletcher received a mistrial because Judge Michael Usan was absent after a family emergency and it wasn't clear when he'd return to the bench.

Pletcher, 39, 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 flipped 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 record 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. He offered no comment on his client opting for a mistrial instead of a postponement.

A status hearing was scheduled for January 22.

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