UF Officer Fired After Traffic Stop

Officer Was Same One Who Shot Grad Student Last Year

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The most recent criticism of University of Florida police officer Keith Smith over three incidents in the past three years has cost the officer his job.

In 2008, Smith and other officers from the Gainesville Police Department were accused of throwing eggs and yelling at people they suspected were drug dealers and prostitutes.

Last year, Smith shot a UF grad student in the head after police said the student was acting irate.

Now, it's the way Smith handled a traffic stop that has cost him his job.

On July 23, Smith said, he saw a convertible Mercedes blow by him on West University Avenue near campus at about 80 mph in a 35 mph zone. He said the suspect was throwing bottles out of the roof at other cars.

Smith caught up with the car at an intersection about a mile from campus.

"Get out of the car now. You mother (expletive). I will shoot your (expletive). Get out of the car now. Turn it off. Turn it off," Smith is heard saying on dash cam video.

"I turned the car off. I turned the car off," a man he chased down said.

"Get out of the car," Smith said. "Get out. Put your hands behind your back. Put them back. Are you freaking kidding me? You're the stupidest person I've met in a long time."

All UF Police Department cruisers have dashboard video cameras that are used to record an officer's actions for better or worse. In this case, what was caught on camera meant the end for Smith with UFPD.

"I've lost confidence in his ability to enforce the laws equally and in a protective way here on our campus," Police Chief Linda Stump said.

Stump said she can't talk much about the specifics, but she said that after the latest incident, it's best the department let go of the six-year veteran Smith.

"It was my decision, and I had lost the confidence in him to perform his functions," Stump said.

"This is the same officer who drove around the east side of Gainesville and terrorized citizens in the African American society," UF student activist Dave Schneider said. "This is the same officer who gunned down a graduate student in his own home. And now this is an officer who threatened to shoot a driver that he pulled over -- a total overreaction."

Schneider said he's been waiting for this day. He said he and other student activists have been trying to get Smith off the force for a long time for the 2008 egging incident and for the 2010 shooting of grad student Kofi Adu-Brempong on campus.

State investigators cleared Smith and the other officers involved of any wrongdoing in the shooting. Adu-Brempong was severely injured but survived. Schneider said the administration at UF needs to be accountable for who it employs.

"Why was Keith Smith giving three strikes after he shot a student and so many other things?" Schneider said.

The man Smith was seen chasing in surveillance video was arrested on a charge of reckless driving. He has since been released from jail.

Smith has the right to appeal his termination, though he hasn't done that as of yet.

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