Julie Sheppard says she was driving her 10-year-old stepson home from school in Coconut Grove last week when she heard someone slap the back of her car. In her rear-view mirror, she saw a Miami Police officer, so she pulled over and rolled down her window. The first thing he said shocked her.
"Lady, do you know what you did?" she says he asked. "You almost fucking ran me over!"
Sheppard says the officer, later identified as George Guillen — a Miami cop with a history of complaints of aggressive behavior toward drivers — was "quivering from rage" as he screamed at her to "give me your fucking license" and threatened her with arrest. All the while, Shepard's son was trembling in the back seat, she says.
After the December 7 traffic stop, court records show Sheppard was issued a citation for careless driving, which comes with a fine of $179. She has pleaded not guilty and last Friday filed a complaint against Guillen with the internal affairs division of the Miami Police Department. A department spokesman told New Times he was unable to immediately provide the complaint or comment on Sheppard's allegations.
Sheppard disputes the suggestion that she almost ran over Guillen. She says she clearly saw him as he stood on patrol in the middle of the street near St. Stephen's Episcopal Day School. She says she remained calm and used a respectful tone with Guillen even as he went off on a curse-filled tirade in front of her child.
"I stayed quiet because I thought this guy was totally out of control," she says. "It was pretty horrifying to be verbally assaulted like that for no reason. I felt like the guy could have punched me in the face."
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After running her license, Sheppard says, Guillen threw the ticket at her and said, "Take it up with whoever you want." She says she went to internal affairs after reading about a similar case in 2015 where Guillen cursed at a teenage driver and a 2012 incident where he allegedly called a woman a "whore" and a "tramp" during an investigation.
Sheppard acknowledges the circumstances surrounding the traffic stop are largely he-said,
After the experience, though, Sheppard says she hopes the officer will be disciplined.
"This guy is dangerous," she says. "I told internal affairs I'm here not just because I have the right to be here but because I'm afraid this guy could really hurt somebody. He needs to be off the street."