Here’s the gist, Swinney, football coach for Clemson University Tigers, gets stopped by Pickens Police Officer, Swinney was traveling with his brother, they get blue lighted for going 63 in a 35. They pull into the Bi-Lo Shopping Center and immediately jump out of the truck and approached the officer that was still in his vehicle, that’s some fast movement on their part, they were requested by the Officer to go back to the truck, they refused. If one of us mere mortals dared get out of our vehicle we would have been forced back in it at gun point, everyone knows you don’t get out of your vehicle when an Officer stops you. My question is, what was in that truck that they didn’t want the Officer to see.
The Officer downgraded the ticket to a lesser fine and 4 points instead of 6 but that wasn’t good enough, they became abusive to the Officer and apparently sometime later, the ticket was reduced further, by whom, who knows. While the Officer was writing the ticket the Bi-Lo manager came out and told the Officer that the Mayor was on the phone and wanted to talk to him, the Officer refused since he was in the middle of a traffic stop. Why did the Mayor call? Some could speculate that he was going to get the Officer to back down and let Swinney go, my daughter, who works for the City of Pickens, said that a bystander called the Mayor but that still doesn’t answer why the Mayor felt the need to call the Officer at that time. (The Mayor’s statement below says that he didn’t call, the Bi-Lo manager called him)
The Officer was fired, supposedly, because he posted about it on Police Dept computer, but that doesn’t seem like a firing situation to me, maybe a write up. The Officer in a statement to the media today said that the Chief knew he was doing that and just asked that his name not be mentioned in the post. Sounds to me like someone got to the Chief, the Mayor? Swinney?, draw your own conclusions. -Phoebe
Swinney’s traffic stop video…..
Officer blames mayor for firing over Swinney ticket (video inside)
City, mayor release response statements
PICKENS, S.C. —A police officer who was terminated after issuing a speeding ticket to Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney says that the excuse used for his firing was a “red herring” and the mayor’s anger over the ticket led to his wrongful termination.
Officer Michael McClatchy and his attorney held a news conference Thursday morning. McClatchy read a detailed account of what he says happened on Sept. 14 and in the aftermath of the traffic stop.
Records show that Swinney was clocked going 63 mph in a 35 mph zone on Sept. 3 at 8 p.m. on the way to his radio call-in show. He was cited for speeding.
McClatchy said he reduced Swinney’s ticket to four points and a $185 fine, down from a six-point ticket with a $445 fine.
McClatchy said Chief Rodney Gregory later reduced the ticket further to an $81.50 fine, and two points on Swinney’s license.
Gregory said that McClatchy behaved professionally during the stop, but that he was terminated because he used a department computer on Sept. 14 to detail his version of what happened during the stop and posted it on a website.
At Thursday’s news conference, McClatchy said he pulled over the Ford F150 driven by Dabo Swinney in the parking lot of the BI-LO store on Highway 8 in Pickens.
McClatchy said after he pulled the truck over, the coach and his brother, Tracy Swinney, got out of the truck. McClatchy said Tracy Swinney told him that he was a retired police officer from Alabama and asked if he would take that into consideration.
The officer said he made several requests for the brothers to get back into the truck, but they refused to do so.
Pickens Mayor Response
“Just to clarify, I did not call the Manager of Bi-Lo or any police officer or the Chief of Police on the evening of the traffic stop.
The manager of Bi-Lo called me to inform me of the chaos being caused at Bi-Lo related to the incident. I did not call him. I did ask to speak to the officer involved and when I was informed he was unable to come to the phone, I spoke with the other officer involved at the scene. I told them to continue doing their job and follow the proper procedures because there were a lot of people watching. I never said anything regarding how the ticket should be handled that day or at any time after the traffic stop. The next day, after reviewing the video, I even told Chief Gregory to commend the officers on their professional handling of the situation. I also told Mr. McClatchy personally that he did a great job and that I had seen the video and he handled himself very professionally.
“I took no part in the decision to terminate him and did not even know until later that day.”
City of Pickens response
“The City of Pickens did not terminate Mr. McClatchy for conduct related to the issuance of the citation. His conduct during the traffic stop was professional and he followed all appropriate procedures.
“Mr. McClatchy was terminated for engaging in private activity on company time on company equipment in addition to violating several general orders. It is important to note that Mr. McClatchy spent an hour and a half during his police shift at the police station ‘editing’ his blog post.
“The City has policies in place where employees who believe they are wrongfully disciplined or terminated may grieve to the Department Head, the Administrator, and finally, the City Council. Mr. McClatchy never made any request to grieve either of his two previous disciplinary warnings or this final action. Instead he has chosen a different route.
“If necessary, the City is fully prepared to defend our decision. However, we will do so in a more proper setting, such as a court room where these matters belong.”