YOU MAKE THE CALL: Was traffic stop of city employee handled properly?
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Often in newsrooms there are stories that lead to debate: Is it news or not? Will viewers want to see it, or should they see it all?
Tonight, we ask you to be the judge.
After getting a tip about a traffic stop this week in Wilmington involving a city employee, we started to dig.
Here are the facts: Monday morning Ofc. Robert Pearce (Call sign 250) initiated a traffic stop for speeding in the 600 block of Market Street. We also know the SUV driven by Roger Johnson, Assistant to the City Manager for Development, did not stop until reaching a parking lot on Chestnut Street about six blocks away.
So we’d like you to watch the full dashcam video (click on the video, above left) from Ofc. Pearce’s car and let us know what you think.
We talked with Johnson yesterday. He would not go on camera, but said he was pulling into a lot where he normally parks because it was safe. He said he did not believe his position with the city helped him get out of the ticket.
City Manager Sterling Cheatham told us he had heard “something about it,” but could not to speak to the situation, because he did not know all the facts, other than that Johnson had been very apologetic.
We also asked Police Chief Ralph Evangelous about what happened.
“It was probably three blocks, and he was speeding it looks like. Roger was extremely apologetic, and he has apologized to the officer, and the officer is doing his job out there, and he tried to make that traffic stop. He went about three blocks, from what I can determine from the video, into the parking lot,” Evangelous said.
“We have, officers have discretion every day. They don’t give tickets out to everybody that they stop. They have the discretion to give verbal warnings, written warnings, or whatever, so… Officers do that on a regular basis.”
New Hanover County Dispatch says Ofc. Pearce cleared the call through the computer in his car. The dispatch Event Report shows he closed it with a verbal warning.
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