FORT LAUDERDALE – A veteran Fort Lauderdale officer has been arrested and fired after allegedly falsifying a police report.
Former Police Officer Robert Merkel, 45, has been charged with one count of official misconduct, a felony, and one count of falsifying official records, a misdemeanor, records show.
The exact circumstances surrounding Merkel’s arrest remain unclear, but sources close to the investigation – who requested that their names not be published – told the South Florida Times that the case centers on cash that Merkel allegedly seized from a suspect, but did not properly document.
“I’ve talked to them [prosecutors], and basically they believe some information contained in a police report to be false,” said Fort Lauderdale attorney Michael Dutko, who is representing Merkel.
Dutko said he has not yet received background materials on the case.
Of Merkel’s termination from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, Dutko said, “I’m not involved in that. I’m just representing him in the criminal case.”
Kim Fontana, assistant to Broward State Attorney’s Office spokesman Ron Ishoy, confirmed the arrest, but declined to discuss details of the case.
Merkel was arrested on May 29. City officials and union representatives said they learned of the arrest when a reporter contacted them.
Pictured above is former Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Robert Merkel.