Alexander Griss, a 26 year old former police officer, was found guilty of Reckless Driving today in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Griss was on trial for vehicular homicide for allegedly killing a pedestrian with his police cruiser.
According to internal affairs reports, Griss allegedly had a history of speeding in his police vehicle, both on and off duty. In the month before this accident, Griss was said to have driven his police car in excess of 90 mph over 90 times. In fact, investigators claim to have found 15 instances where he drove in excess of 110 mph. This includes one instance on a stretch of A1A where the speed limit is only 30-35 mph, where he drove in excess of 114 mph.
However, the jury never heard this evidence.
Instead, the heard about the victim’s problems with drug and alcohol abuse. According to Griss’ defense lawyer, the victim supposedly staggered out onto Federal Highway while high on crack cocaine and under the influence of “copious amounts” of alcohol.
After hearing the evidence, the jury came back with a guilty verdict on Reckless Driving, which is a lesser offense. Instead of facing up to 15 years in prison for vehicular homicide, he is now facing a maximum of 90 days in jail, less credit for time already served.
While the victim’s family members were very distraught by the verdict, it is clear that the jury gave considerable weight to the victim’s contributory negligence. In other words, the jury likely concluded that the accident happened as a result of the actions of both the victim and Griss. Without their joint input, the accident would likely have never happened.
Ultimately the entire situation is utterly unfortunate. On the one hand, we have a drug addicted woman who wandered into traffic high and drunk. On the other hand, we have a cop who rocketed his police cruiser down Federal Highway, knowing there is no one to stop him or pull him over.
How many times have you seen that? I see cops fly like lightening all over our roadways, especially towards the end of shift change.
If anything, I hope the victim’s death in this case sends a clear message to corrupt cops that if you kill while driving recklessly, the public will come looking to you for answers. Our county deserves strong law enforcement against corrupt cops. Especially those who kill because they thought they were above the law.
I hope the victim’s family recovers from the pain of this horrible experience.