Body camera video released in Uber driver's wrongful arrest
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The Orange County Sheriff's Office has released body camera video showing the arrest of Jose Batista, an Uber driver wrongfully jailed on charges out of Miami in a case of mistaken identity.
Batista was pulled over in May for a faulty headlight.
Deputies checked Batista's license and said he had an active warrant for aggravated battery from South Florida dating back to 1996.
Deputies in the body camera video can be heard asking Batista if he's been arrested before. Batista responded, "I got arrested in 1997, for a simple assault."
Batista told deputies he did his probation for that arrest and he wasn’t the same Jose Batista they were looking for. In fact, he even said he’s been mixed up before for the wrong guy.
"Back in 2011 happened, the same thing happened," Batista said.
News 6 did a series of stories, later finding out that deputies arrested the wrong man. Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials said someone in Miami attached the wrong FBI number to Jose’s case.
In the body camera video, deputies were seen trying to verify the warrant and even found a red flag.
"It was validated this year. But the date of birth is the only thing that's off, but they’re trying to confirm it," an Orange County deputy said.
"Did they properly seek to confirm the identity of the individual, did they chase down this information to make sure they had the right person in custody?" attorney and News 6 legal expert Steve Kramer said.
Kramer said he’s seen similar cases before. He said it raises big questions about whether there was enough done by law enforcement in Orange County, in Miami, and even at the jail where Batista was booked.
"If he’s fingerprinted upon being booked, shouldn’t his fingerprints have come up different than the Mr. Batista who should have been arrested?" Kramer asked.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said they did their best to verify Batista’s identity based on the information they received from the warrant.
News 6 is awaiting a response from Orange County Jail officials on the matter.
Prosecutors have since dropped the charges against Batista.
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