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Singer claiming to be an “ambassador at large” dragged out of car for phony diplomatic plates


Omar Rodríguez Ortiz, Devoun Cetoute
Miami Herald

A woman yanked from her car by a Sunny Isles Beach officer in a viral traffic-stop video has been charged with driving with a fake diplomatic tag Tuesday, police said. The next day, the man driving her from jail was arrested for the same charge with her in the car.

Ceceilia Selina Mercado, 32, was leaving Parque Towers Condominium Tuesday afternoon in a 2014 white Audi when she disregarded a “right turn only” sign, police spokeswoman Sgt. Melissa M. Porro told the Miami Herald.

Mercado illegally crossed four lanes to cut through a parking lot and head west on Sunny Isles Boulevard, Porro said. When she was stopped in the parking lot of Public Storage, 301 Sunny Isles Blvd., officers asked Mercado, who was born in New York, for her driver’s license.

She did not provide one and claimed to have “immunity rights,” according to her arrest report, and the Audi’s tag stated she was a “diplomat” and an “ambassador at large” — which turned out to not be the truth.

She was taken to Miami-Dade County’s Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center and charged with driving a car with a counterfeit license plate, jail records show. She made bail Wednesday morning after paying a $2,500 bond.

Police believe Mercado was picked up from the jail by a man, who has not been identified, and her boyfriend in a Maybach. Officers noticed the license plate on the car, which was registered to her boyfriend, was they believed also was counterfeit. Sunny Isles Beach police were told and prepared to pull over the car if it came back to the city.

The unidentified man did indeed drive the couple back to Sunny Isles Beach and was promptly stopped. He was arrested and charged with driving a car with a counterfeit license plate, same as Mercado, Porro said.

Video of police incident

Mercado’s arrest went viral on social media as it was recorded by her passenger and published by Only in Dade on Instagram.

A Sunny Isles Beach officer is seen reaching into the car’s closed front driver-side door, opening it and ordering Mercado to step out while her passenger holds her right arm and asks the officer to bring his supervisor, yelling “I feel threatened!” several times.

The officer grabs Mercado’s left hand and continues to tell her to step out of the car, but her passenger yells, “Let her go!” telling her to “follow what I’m saying.”

“She is not a United States citizen,” the passenger tells the officer. “They have no jurisdiction.”

The passenger then warns the officers they will be fired and that he will file a lawsuit.

Moments later, the officer pulls Mercado out of the car, she falls on the pavement with a shocked look on her face, then is put against the car and in handcuffs. While a second officer assists in detaining her, a third is outside the open front-passenger door of the car with one hand on his holstered gun and the other gesturing for the passenger to stay seated.

“I swear to God…,” the passenger says.

The video skips to the moment the passenger tells Mercado: “Sessi, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry you had to go through this.” The video then skips when Mercado tells officers she has given them her passport.

Police said Mercado was initially cited for four traffic violations: no proof of car registration nor insurance, not carrying a driver’s license and disobeying a traffic control device. Officers said they let Mercado go because it was taking too long to verify whether she had diplomatic immunity.

But when the U.S. State Department told officers the Audi had a counterfeit diplomatic license plate, they arrested her.

In an incident report, the officer who pulled Mercado out of the Audi stated a colleague found a small-caliber gun “in plain view” in the passenger door pocket. The Audi’s fake diplomatic license plate was impounded and the Audi was towed, an officer said in another report.

Mercado did not immediately respond to a phone call from the Herald nor request for comment via Instagram. It was not clear if she had retained an attorney.

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