Update: After complaints, Facebook has removed a post from Union President Javier Ortiz that included Claudio Castillo's phone number and encouraged his followers to call her.
Last week, a Miami woman named Claudia Castillo went nuclear on the Palmetto Expressway when she says a Miami-Dade Police officer, traveling nearly 100 mph in his cruiser, went flying past her. Castillo followed the cop, flagged him down, and then filmed an exchange that has since gone viral online, with many viewers praising her as the ultimate road vigilante.
Castillo's viral encounter came last Friday, when she filmed an officer now identified as Daniel Fonticiella driving toward downtown Miami. By flashing her lights and honking, she eventually got him to pull over on I-95 southbound at the NW Eighth Street exit. "The reason I pulled you over today," she tells the befuddled Fonticiella, "you were pushing 90 miles per hour."
Her video of that encounter has now been viewed more than a million times:
Fonticiella eventually apologized, and the Miami-Dade Police Department promised a full investigation after Castillo officially filed an internal affairs complaint. But MDPD's new director, Juan Perez, also criticized her for potentially endangering the public by following the officer instead of calling in a complaint.
But last night, NBC 6 dove into Castillo's own driving records. According to the station, Florida Highway Patrol is investigating Castillo for reckless driving for an incident just two weeks before her viral video was posted. Castillo had been pulled over 14 times since 1998, NBC 6 reports. (New Times wasn't able to find contact information for Castillo; she didn't comment for the TV station's report either.)
That was more than enough ammunition for Ortiz, the Miami Police Department's voluble union chief. He'd already taken to Twitter to slam Castillo for her actions:
Update 2 p.m.: Ortiz didn't limit his campaign against Castillo to posting photos from her Facebook page — he also apparently found her phone number and posted it to his account, encouraging his followers to call her:
Among others, filmmaker Billy Corben quickly complained to Facebook, charging that Ortiz's post amounted to harassment. Facebook apparently agreed — according to Corben, they took down the post:
Ortiz defends his post though, saying he was just sharing information others had posted. Shortly after Facebook took down the original post, he's reposted it. It's still live, as of 3 p.m.
"I simply "shared" information posted by another poster," Ortiz says. "Ms. Castillo is all over the media voluntarily stating that no one is above the law. Clearly she has a double standard for herself."
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE...
Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.