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| Crime |

Miami Cops and FHP Troopers Try to Bury the Hatchet With A Softball Game

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How do you smooth over a cop-on-trooper feud that's escalated from high speed chases to retaliatory arrests to dumping five tons of human feces onto an official police vehicle?

If you're the Miami Police Department and the Florida Highway Patrol, you settle the simmering beef the old fashioned way: a good ol' fashioned softball throwdown. Let's hope they've got a good ump at second base watching for spikes-up slides.

The two forces will meet on the softball field on Saturday to raise money for charity -- and hopefully to paper over some of the international headlines about the sophomoric fight that's been raging between the two agencies for months.

"There's been a lot of negative press and we both want to move past that," says MPD Maj. Jorge Alvarez, who helped organize the game. "It's great when you can turn something negative into something positive."

The public spat between the two law enforcement units went public in October after a FHP trooper named D.J. Watts pulled over a Miami cop named Fausto Lopez who was doing 120 miles per hour down the Turnpike.

Video of Watts handcuffing Lopez and calling him a "criminal" went viral and led to a vicious online fight on police and trooper message boards.

Then, on Nov. 6, FHP trooper Joe Sanchez -- a longtime Miami commissioner and former mayoral candidate -- walked out of his house to find his patrol car covered in gallons of shit. No one's been caught, but most speculated that Miami cops were behind the vandalism.

The next week, a Miami cop pulled over a speeding FHP trooper to get a little revenge; the only problem was, he pulled him over in Broward -- outside his jurisdiction -- and the trooper turned out to be the brother of Miami's internal affairs chief.

The cop, Thomas Vokaty, was later reprimanded.

So will the softballers put all that recent history behind them when they lace up the cleats and bust out the aluminum bats?

Alvarez says they will. "Everyone I've talked to is on board with this," he says.

The game goes down tomorrow at noon in Peacock Park, along with a holiday toy collection.

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