A newly-surfaced surveillance video shows Bieber crawling along, apparently well within the speed limit on the street where he was stopped.
“Why did you stop me?” Bieber reportedly quizzed the officer, according to the police report.
“I explained to the driver that he was stopped because he was drag racing with the other Lamborghini,” the officer responded.
But the surveillance video, taken from a camera with a street view, shows Bieber’s car and a Ferrari driven by his pal Chief Khalil traveling far slower than the 50- to 60-mph claimed by the officer.
In addition, the $180,000 luxury car is equipped with a GPS device that tracks location and speed. The data show Bieber driving below 30-mph on the street where the arrest took place, according to gossip site TMZ.
As a result of the GPS data and the video, obtained by local news station CBS4 in Miami, a number of gossip sites, like TMZ, are reporting that the case is falling apart.
Absent the speeding cars, the argument goes, the officer did not have “probable cause” to pull Bieber over, making his arrest illegal.
Charges arising out of the stop, like the DUI and resisting arrest, would also be considered “tainted.”
But there’s much more to it than that.
Courts take into consideration that an officer working the street must often make quick assessments of potential situations and rely on judgment to decide what actions to take.
In that regard, cops are given significant discretion to do their jobs.
If the officer, in his estimation, had “reasonable cause” to believe the cars were speeding, or about to start a drag race, the stop would be legal, no matter how fast they were actually going.
The officer obviously knows what he’s doing (no surprise). He sufficiently hedges the police report to satisfy legal requirements.
For example, he wrote that he noticed “the vehicles were all traveling in a pack.” And “other traffic [was] beginning to back up…” justifying his decision to follow Bieber and Khalil.
Then, he goes on to use all the right buzz words to establish “probable cause.”
“It appeared (our emphasis) that the sports cars were preparing for a drag race,” he states. “It appeared to me (our emphasis) that they were holding traffic to allow an open road for a race…”
“I heard the engines (our emphasis) begin to race as the vehicles took off,” he continued.
In other words, the officer assessed the situation and made a decision based on his observations.
Even if the GPS data and video prove the cars were doing the speed limit at the time, it wouldn’t matter because the officer reasonably believed the cars were going faster, or about to drag race.
Of course, a Lamborghini looks like it’s going 100 mph sitting at a traffic light. Plus, it has a deep, throaty exhaust that could easily make it sound like it’s going faster than it really is.
So it’s reasonable for the officer to over-estimate the speed. And, that’s only one factor in his decision.
So Bieber is far from out of the woods.
The GPS data and video may give him leverage to negotiate a plea deal, but it won’t get him off the hook on the expired license, resisting arrest, or the more serious DUI charge.
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