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Attorney disputes Tampa police’s version of events after traffic stop caught on chopper video

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – It was June of 2019. Officers in the Tampa Police Department helicopter report that they witness a traffic infraction while patrolling the city from the sky.

It is alleged that Malik Hudson stopped his Chevrolet Malibu in a crosswalk, past the stop bar.

The officers in the chopper radio to ground officers, who attempted to find the Malibu.

“We’re still northbound, trying to catch up to him. There’s a lot of traffic so we’re still trying to catch up to him,” an officer says on the video recording.

In a recent deposition, an officer reported: “We attempted to catch up to the vehicle, I think somewhere around 275 northbound,” paperwork shows.

An initial police report, filed at the time of the incident, says Hudson committed a traffic infraction and fled from officers.

That point is heavily disputed by Hudson’s attorney, Michelle Lambo. She stresses for anyone who is in dispute to look at the video and claims her client never fled that night.

“If you watch the video in its entirety, there are no vehicles that appear to be in pursuit during anytime of this case,” Lambo said.

She claims Hudson had no idea he had done anything wrong, simply because he never saw officers behind him.

“At no time around Sligh, north of Sligh around Waters or [sic] do you see any cars that look like they are trying to initiate a traffic stop on a white vehicle,” Lambo said to 8 On Your Side.

During the video, the Malibu gets off I-275 and stops at Busch Boulevard. The driver waits with other vehicles.

“10-4 I’m just trying to confirm the charges for the vehicle?” a police official is heard saying during the video recording.

“Fleeing to elude ma’am,” the pilot says.

Eventually, the video shows a police cruiser pull up to Hudson’s vehicle, which stopped in an apartment complex. He appears to put his hands up and is cuffed with no apparent problems.

Lambo calls the charge a complete mischaracterization of events.

8 On Your Side received the following statement from TPD:

The officers attempted a traffic stop, activating their emergency equipment, for a traffic infraction that occurred at 15th St. N/21st. Avenue E. The driver fled at a high rate of speed to elude this traffic stop. Air Service was able to monitor from above, providing updates to ground officers who were not in pursuit to maintain the safety of other drivers on the roadway.

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