Fault Lines
18 November 2017

Orlando Officers Favorit and Rolle Do As They Please

August 25, 2016 (Fault Lines) — How many times have you seen police cars speeding past you without lights or sirens? How many times have you witnessed a patrol car activate his lights or siren and proceed through a red light only to turn off the emergency equipment as soon as they cleared the intersection? How many times have you wondered just what was so important?

Well, it seems the Orlando Police Department actually wondered the same, yet we are left with no explanation as to why two officers would violate policy and the law and risk their jobs over something that just doesn’t seem all that important.

Two Orlando police officers, Michael Favorit Jr. and Frederick Rolle, have been fired after engaging in an unauthorized police chase last year. Last December, Favorit and Rolle started following a Jeep. In what was described as a chase, the officers never informed dispatch or other units of their pursuit. They never utilized their emergency equipment: no lights or sirens.

According to ABC’s WFTV9, records showed the chase reached speeds well above the posted limits without lights and sirens. Additionally, radio transmissions indicated other officers had no idea why the officers were even chasing the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Officers and dispatchers can be heard trying to find the officers and their chase.

So, a high-speed chase drew attention, yet the officers involved in the pursuit didn’t see fit to inform the department or other officers, nor request any sort of assistance. If this doesn’t seem just a bit strange, then you must not regularly follow Fault Lines. Did the officers know something more? Who was in the Jeep? Why did they want to catch up to them without involving other law enforcement? Was there a transaction about to happen? Did the officers believe they might find some drugs, money, or guns that could be of use?

Not only did the officers pursue the vehicle, but they left their jurisdiction to do so. This, in and of itself, is not that big of a deal. Officers follow suspects frequently. Suspects often continue to flee despite jurisdictional barriers. But, normal procedures call for at least the courtesy of notifying the other jurisdiction of any pursuit into their area. Favorit and Rolle couldn’t be bothered to notify their own department, much less a neighboring agency, even though radio traffic was heavy and inquiring as to their whereabouts. Sure, officers are busy during a pursuit, but with a two-man unit, one of the officers could have bothered to check in if everything was on the up and up.

At some point, the occupants of the Jeep slipped away and abandoned the vehicle in a field. During the chase or immediately thereafter, the officers came to believe the vehicle was stolen. For reasons unclear, Rolle and Favorit decided they should move the abandoned vehicle. Rather than call a wrecker or other officers, Favorit drove the car to a liquor store, returning it to the city limits within their jurisdiction. Why a liquor store? Perhaps the police station or a lighted mall parking lot was simply too inconvenient.

Forget processing the scene for evidence. Forget checking the car for prints, especially on the steering wheel, to identify the car thieves. Instead, these keystone cops decided to drive the car and relocate the crime scene.

It was not until several days later that Rolle even submitted his police report detailing the incident. Perhaps he needed time to come up with the facts? Nah, that can’t be it. In the report he completed, he never mentioned a chase, or how and why the Jeep caught their attention. He did write about finding a gun, but later reported it was fake. His report also detailed the need to move the vehicle because of possible “multiple armed assailants in the immediate area.” Hmmm…multiple armed assailants in the immediate area, yet no call for backup or assistance. What else was in that car? We’ll never know as Rolle and Favorit certainly didn’t tell us, and they staged moved the crime scene so no one else could tell us.

It certainly seems these officers believed they could just do as they pleased. They are cops after all. They are above the law. No need to use emergency equipment when speeding down the road. No need to adhere to traffic laws. No need to even notify the department of their actions – they’ll file a report when they are good and ready. And they will decide what should be included!

Well, maybe so, but it won’t happen again. Following an internal investigation, the officers were fired. Supervisors wrote:

These actions by you are inexcusable.

From the first observation of the suspect vehicle to its final resting point on Colonial Dr., there were many deliberate acts to cover up the entire incident.

Of course, these do-as-we-please officers are planning to appeal their terminations as they proceed to arbitration. Apparently they have more work to do.

8 Comments on this post.

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  • Rick
    25 August 2016 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    “They are cops after all.” But apparently they are not cops after all. They got fired. What exactly is it that would make you happy? You condem cop culture but give them no credit for doing the right thing.

    • JoAnne Musick
      25 August 2016 at 5:06 pm - Reply

      “They are cops after all” refers to Favorit and Rolle in the context. They did what they wanted and expected no consequence. They are even appealing the termination. Yes, I condemn them for their careless disregard for their own authority, the safety of the community, and the departmental rules.

      I did not condemn the entire cop culture or the Orlando Police Department. The PD did the right thing and fired the offending officers.

      • Dave L
        26 August 2016 at 12:38 am - Reply

        Personally, I am curious if there is going to be a further investigation into this. As a prior service Procurement officer, if one of my coworkers or inspectors did something like this, the OSI would need to be notified to start looking at banking records/debts/etc for a potential corruption case. I am always shocked at how police officers struggle to handle issues that the military culture long ago got a grip on (not saying that military justice is perfect, just not as accepting of bad apples).

        • JoAnne Musick
          26 August 2016 at 9:32 am - Reply

          It’s always interesting to see when and if internal police matters are referred for further scrutiny. Locally (Houston, Texas) there was a tine when relatively few were referred.

          Years ago as a prosecutor, I worked in Public Integrity (investigation and prosecuting public officials including officers). We learned there were many files that had never been referred. We ended up issuing sweeping grand jury subpoenas and warrants to collect the internal files from the Harris County Sheriff’s Department. As a result, we followed up on hundreds of matters. Many of the files lead us to criminal conduct that could have or should have been pursued. For many, the statute of limitations had already run so prosecution was barred. A few officers were fired, some remained on duty. It was a disturbing finding.

          • Paul S
            26 August 2016 at 10:24 am -

            Then as a prosecutor you can clearly see that most likely these two were trying to rob a drug dealer or criminal with cash of some kind right ?

          • JoAnne Musick
            26 August 2016 at 11:25 am -

            Paul S

            I’m not sure that being a former prosecutor is what qualifies, but yes, it is possible that these officer were trying to rob a drug dealer or some other person who might have large amounts of cash. As a prosecutor, I became familiar with several cases wherein officers engaged in exactly that type of behavior.

            In this case, I simply do not know as not enough facts have been released. A robbery is a possibility. But there are various other possibilities as well. Could be simple stupidity. But then why lie about it? Why try to cover it up? Could be more. Because of these possibilities, I certainly hope that the investigation goes further and authorities can make some headway. Unfortunately, these officers likely did everything they could to prevent that – evidence was moved, suspects were not located, officers lied or omitted facts in their report, no other officers were present to witness anything. Just a convoluted mess.

      • Rick
        26 August 2016 at 12:55 pm - Reply

        You’re right, you didn’t condemn the department. My apologies, I’ll read slower next time.

        • JoAnne Musick
          26 August 2016 at 1:51 pm - Reply

          no apology necessary!