Perkins, South Carolina Police Officer Fired for Posting Details of Traffic Citation for Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney on Internet
September 22, 2012
An important public service announcement for all those serving as a police officer in the state of South Carolina who find themselves in the precarious position of pulling over Clemson University football coach Dabo Swinney for speeding:
If you’re going to write a ticket for the violation, don’t later go onto a popular sports blogging site and discuss the details of the traffic stop – even if your sole intention is to “clear the air for all involved,” as reported by ESPN.com.
Otherwise, as was the case for one Michael McClatchy of the Pickens (S.C.) Police Department, you could find yourself being fired for violation of city computer policy, violation of departmental code of ethics and violation of general orders.
McClatchey originally encountered Swinney after clocking Clemson’s head football coach doing 63 in a 35 mph zone inside the city of Perkins.
Once pulled over, Swinney apparently proceeded to tell McClatchy that he was late for a radio show scheduled at a local BI-LO supermarket – an excuse, McClatchy later revealed, seemed to suggest Swinney hoped to “be excused for the violation” and be allowed “to continue to his [radio] appointment.”
McClatchey futher claimed he requested both Swinney and his brother, a passenger in the vehicle, remain inside the car for the duration of the stop, but that neither complied.
SportsGrid.com says it was at this point a manager for BI-LO approached McClatchy to let him know a city official was on the phone and wanted to speak with him. McClatchy apparently declined to do so.
Shortly thereafter, Swinney’s brother revealed he was a retired Alabama police officer with more than 30 years of experience on the force and asked McClatchy to take that into consideration.
Ultimately, McClatchey provided Swinney with a citation for speeding, but notes he reduced the penalty for the violation to a minimum fine and points on the coach’s license.
Swinney then apparently grew short with the officer, gave him what McClatchey described as “an unfriendly glare,” shook his head repeatedly and then proceeded to enter the BI-LO supermarket.
Perkins Chief of Police Rodney Gregory, in a statement released this Friday, maitains that an investigation into the incident revealed both McClatchey and Swinney acted in a professional manner throughout the duration of the stop, but that in posting his own personal account of the event on 247sports.com, McClatchey had violated several city and departmental confidentiality policies, and thereby, had to be fired.
Sadly enough, ESPN.com notes, McClatchy had recently been promoted to corporal.
Gregory also commented in his statement that Swinney paid the fine for the traffic violation and a letter of apology was issued on behalf of the police chief for McClatchy’s actions in the ordeal.