Goolsby upset with trooper allegations

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Submitted: Tue, 07/05/2011 - 2:52am
Updated: Tue, 07/05/2011 - 3:10pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — North Carolina Senator Thom Goolsby released a statement, expressing his frustration with the letter from Hoyt Tessener and the allegations against state troopers Edward Wyrick and Andrew Smith, that has them on administrative duty.

Goolsby’s complete statement reads:
Like most of the public, I was shocked at the allegations recently made against two local North Carolina State Troopers regarding the DWI arrest of Gina Tessener. I was sent a copy of the letter to the Governor written by Tessener’s lawyer-husband. In the letter, the husband made numerous allegations of abuse and illegal conduct against our troopers.

I read the letter with interest and concern. As an attorney who practices in our local courts, I have known these troopers for the entire time they have enforced the law in southeastern North Carolina. I have never received any complaints about them. My personal experience was that they were professional, honest and forthright.

When I learned that there was a video tape from the Detention Center, I watched it with interest. I was shocked and angered when it was apparent that the video did not represent several of the allegations made in the letter.

I have personally spoken with the Governor, Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety and the Commander of the Highway Patrol expressing my frustration over what I perceive to be false allegations. Further, because both of these troopers were immediately placed on administrative leave, our county will be short of law enforcement officers to protect the public from drunk drivers during 4th of July weekend.

It is time that someone spoke up and defended our troopers. I am doing so now.

Thom Goolsby,
NC Senator, District 9

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62 Comments on "Goolsby upset with trooper allegations"

2015 years 8 months ago

This isn’t about good behavior, respect, or even right and wrong. When we give people badges and guns, we expect them to be the bigger men. These Troopers failed us big time.

So the officer didn’t shout and throw things. So he let Gina make all the calls she wanted, and so he didn’t get in Hoyt’s face. The fact remains that after Gina blew a 0.0 on that breathalyzer twice, SHE WASN’T DRUNK and there was no evidence to say otherwise. Her refusal to do a sobriety test on the road no longer mattered.

But after that? Keeping her in a drunk tank for blowing a 0.0? Taking her before a Magistrate for blowing a 0.0? Letting his friend, another Trooper to whom he complained pull over her husband, whom he knew to be following his police vehicle to the Magistrate…for blowing a 0.0?

You and I, us regular folks, with law degrees and Lexuses, or with shovels and Fords, we get to be angry. Troopers, those with guns and police cruisers, do not. Why? Because we gave them the guns. Gina should have been RELEASED IMMEDIATELY after the breathalyzer.

Oh, and her husband screaming about him being a lawyer? That’s because people in custody are ENTITLED to a lawyer.

2015 years 8 months ago

Just to make it clear, I have a lot of love and respect for the police, who are generally respectful upstanding guardians of the law. However, I think this guy made a few good, ableit definitely biased, points. And for the most part, you did not.

1. Point to the guy. Her tail light was, most likely, not out. As this guy points out, she was not ticketed for it and no warning was recorded. Now, I know cops sometimes let you go without official warnings, but if he’s actually taking her down to the station, there’s no reason not to ticket or official warn her for the tail light. That, coupled with Hoyt/Gina’s assertions, point to it being not out. If they got it fixed real quick, there would also probably be a record of that fixing since this story is so hot right now. And if that tail light wasn’t out, under the 4th Amendment, applicable to the states by the 14th, this entire stop/search was illegal.

2. Your point. I agree with you that, given the situation, calling the police officer a liar for saying he thought he smelled alcohol on her breath was extreme. Even if we agree that this officer made up the tail light, and thus the stop was illegal, smelling alcohol later on simply wouldn’t make the stop any more legal. Her having Hoffa’s head in the car wouldn’t have made that stop legal.

3. Point to you. Even if she didn’t want to perform a field sorbiety test, she should have submitted to a breathalyzer and, naturally, if you choose not to, you will be taken to the station to do so. She must have known that, but really, I don’t think that was what Gina/Hoyt had a problem with this situation.

4. This point goes to the guy. Evidence suggests that the Trooper amended his report to include an allegation – that Gina had sipped alcohol at 6:30 pm – which was not on the initial report. That definitely supports her story, and moreover, saying “yeah, well, she should have just complied like a good girl with the field sobriety test” does not make the officer’s actions any more honest.

5. Again, this point goes to the guy and not you. You’re getting off topic dicussing the rights of troopers generally to speed. The point is that Hoyt could not have been speeding any faster than the officer in front of him, who knew Hoyt was following him and for what purpose. He was pulled over by another office who was alerted by the trooper who had Gina in his car. No amoutn of love for the police could make such a situation anything less than completely intimidating – knowing your wife is in a car with someone else, whom you believe has no right to hold her there, while you are stopped by his friend from following them to where they are going.

6. Point to the guy on this one because texts released show that the troopers were texting to each other en route, and beforehand. So this Trooper lied, both by omission and explicitly.

7. Point to neither of you! First of all, accusing all troopers or police officers of being deviants with guns is completely disrespectful and out of line. Kind of like accusing all lawyers of being liars with degrees. Nonetheless, you can’t just pull the “we’re all people” card when it comes to officers. Police officers must show extra restraint and follow the law to the letter. Why the double standard? Because they have badges and guns. Something benign that any normal person off the street might say or do is something terribly intimidating and harrassing when coming from someone armed with both a firearm and a cloak of authority. You’all are right: we should trust the word of a police officer over that of your average citizen. That’s why when there’s evidence of lying and discrepancies on the part of police officers, to whom we naturally give the benefit of doubt, we average citizens get pretty damned pissed.

Guest 2343q634
2015 years 8 months ago

You seem to know a lot about police procedure, so here are a few questions:

1) can you just randomly pull over any vehicle on the road and ask for sobriety tests/breathalyzer tests, or do you need reasonable suspicion, such as a broken tail light.

2) if there is no broken tail light, and you made that up, is the stop and search illegal?

3) if you had nothing to drink (or had wine at 6:30 but it is now 11 p.m.), what are the chances that a police officer would smell alcohol on your breath?

4) if you are a female who is pulled over by a police officer who you know just made up an excuse (broken tail light) to pull you over and then started saying that he smelled alcohol on your breath when you know that’s practically impossible, would you be scared and intimidated?

5) if you are a police officer who made up a broke tail light excuse to pull over a car, then made up that the woman driving the care smelled like alcohol to have her step out of the car and do a field sobriety test in heels and a cocktail dress for you, does her refusing to do it make the stop and search any more legal? Does it make her arrest any more legal since it’s the produce of an illegal stop?

…I think you know where I’m going with this. She shouldn’t have been stopped to begin with. All this lovely procedure regarding the right to unarrest should have been explained to her. And let’s not even start with her husband being pulled over for following her to the magistrate’s office!

2015 years 8 months ago

Is this what they mean when they say someone is an opportunist?

2015 years 8 months ago

She was pulled over for a faulty head light… not reckless driving, blows an 0.0 twice and is then arrested.
If it is against the law to follow a Patrol Car, even if your spouse is in the car, it is simply an assanine law (like many). This is made especially bad since the trooper said to follow him since he was not a resident of Wilmington. He could have simply picked up the radio and told his brother officer to leave him be. The problem I have with law enforcement these days is the Jack booted mentality over the courtesy I used to know and respect. Everyone should do a job, especially those who protect and serve, as if their own mother were frgrading the manners in which they carried out their duties.