Today, the Justice Department announced that a grand jury in the Southern District of Florida charged Miami Dade Police Department (MDPD) Detective William Kostopoulos, 47, with using his law enforcement authority to violate motorists’ civil rights.
The indictment charges Kostopoulos with making traffic stops of three motorists in order to steal their money and property, in violation of the motorists’ rights under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to be free from unreasonable seizures of their property. The indictment also charges Kostopoulos with making misleading statements in order to prevent the communication of information about his alleged crimes to federal law enforcement officers.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), with assistance from the Homestead, Florida, Police Department. The matter is being prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Gerard Hogan and Trial Attorney Samantha Trepel of the Civil Rights Division as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Tonya Long of the Southern District of Florida.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.