CLEARWATER - Clearwater Police are finally answering questions raised by ABC Action News about a fatal chase back in February. A chase with motorcycles they say never happened.
Seconds after dash-cam video ends, one of those motorcyclists, Keith Williamson died. Williamson crashed into the back of a Florida Highway Patrol cruiser that pulled into the lane from a construction zone.
Now, for the first time, we hear from the officer himself as the events unfolded.
Officer Nick Giordano's dashboard camera in his unmarked car captured video of the events on the Courtney Campbell Causeway.
ABC Action News also obtained the dispatch radio call as motorcyclists speed in front of him in excess of 100 miles an hour.
The dispatcher asked, "So you are not pursuing?"
Officer Giordano responded "No, I have fleeing charges."
Giordano clearly told the dispatcher he was not in a high-speed pursuit, and at the time Clearwater Police backed him up. But the dashcam video shows he was keeping up with Wlliamson, the man on that speeding motorcycle.
He stopped recording on the dashcam seconds before Williamson struck the cruiser.
This is what he told dispatch after the crash: "Now it's bad, probably one of my vehicles crashed into an FHP cruiser," Giordano said to the dispatcher.
Attorney John Trevena is stunned by the turn of events in this case.
"I have done quite a few police misconduct cases, but this one takes the cake," Trevena said. "Keith Williamson's parents have very serious concerns about the integrity of the investigation into their son's death. And those questions were raised after watching reports on your station, ABC, the witnesses you interviewed."
After seeing those reports on ABC Action News, the Williamsons reached out and hired Trevena.
They said it wasn't to get money -- they admit their son shouldn't have been speeding. But to find out the truth about what happened.
In his report, the officer never mentions engaging in a high-speed pursuit. But Trevena said the dashcam and audio prove he was.
"It is sad to say but the report is predominately a long list of lies," said Trevena.
Clearwater Police initially told us "no comment," but, late Monday afternoon, officials sent us documents, including an internal review of the incident, which clearly states that Giordano accelerated to speeds of 145 miles per hour.
Even so, according to the internal review, it could be argued either way. It may, or may not have been a pursuit.
Trevena has a far different description. "The cover up is always worse than the crime," he said.
Giordano received an Employee Notice that goes in his file. It basically orders him not to do this again. Trevena says that's not good enough.
"It may be difficult to recommend criminal charges against another police officer, but I don't see how it can be avoided in this case. I think this officer will ultimately be charged." said Trevena.
The FHP assigned a special investigator. That report will likely take a couple months to complete.
Trevena said if the FHP does not find fault, he will not quit. He will seek a special prosecutor. He wants criminal charges filed. In this case, Trevena said vehicular homicide. reckless driving and false official statement to name a few could apply.
All the above mentioned charges are felonies and require prison time.
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