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NEAR FORT LAUDERDALE – A Broward Sheriff's Office deputy was terminated after he gave two drunk friends a joyride and let them make lewd comments over the patrol's loud speakers.
Rodrigo Mello was once a decorated Broward Sheriff's Office deputy. Back in 2012, Mello was awarded a Medal of Honor. "He's never been written up or reprimanded in his entire career," said Broward County Police Benevolent Association President Jeff Marano.
Mello was fired this January, accused of taking two friends on a joyride down Las Olas and Himmarshee in Fort Lauderdale. "Hi, yeah I'm calling because I'm down by Las Olas at a city park garage and there is a couple of guys that are driving around in a Broward County Sheriff's car and they're saying extremely rude and just really stupid things over the PA," said the caller.
Mello met some friends at Rocco's Tacos, back in August 2013. Mello admitted to having a few drinks and then went to the club Vibe. He claims two of his friends were too drunk to drive so he offered to take them home. "There are two guys like 20-something, they are not dressed as police officers," the caller said.
The drunk friend allegedly grabbed the cruiser's microphone and began yelling at women walking by. "Can you tell me what they were yelling?" asked the operator.
"One thing was something about, 'Put your vaginas back inside.' One of them was, 'How are your hot dogs?' They are stopping in the street because people think he is a sheriff, so he's stopping in the street and he's talking to girls on the sidewalk."
"It wasn't Mello that said it, it was the other guy, the guy in the car," said Marano. "He should have grabbed it, stopped it or whatever."
Fort Lauderdale Police pulled up to Mello's cruiser as he was driving out. On surveillance video, the deputies were seen interacting. Mello's captain then responded to the scene. He determined that Mello was not intoxicated. Fort Lauderdale Police did not file any charges.
"No alcohol breath or glossy eyes, so the captain made the determination that he could drive," said Marano. "He has given a statement. He admitted that it was stupid. OK. Obviously he's been terminated, but at the end of the day, it's just too much discipline for this type of infraction."
7News reached out to Mello, but he was unavailable for comments.
Mello plans to fight the termination, but according to BSO, they say they plan on fighting back and have no plans on rehiring him.
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