YOU MAKE THE CALL: Was traffic stop of city employee handled properly?

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Submitted: Fri, 08/23/2013 - 3:59am
Updated: Fri, 08/23/2013 - 1:00pm

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) 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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63 Comments on "YOU MAKE THE CALL: Was traffic stop of city employee handled properly?"

Guest Reply Redux
2015 years 8 months ago

(In Wilmington you will)

Guest Reply Redux
2015 years 8 months ago

“What if the driver who “jumped out” turned out to be Brian Berger?”

Or better yet…the Mayor and Chief of Pole Lease heading for a T time at the golf course?

2015 years 8 months ago

The video recorders in the police cars have two audio sources. The mic in the car, which is picking up the radio traffic, and the background noise when after he got out. The other source is the mic pack. That’s where you hear him talking while he’s out of the car. It appears he muted the mic pack just as he reached the silver car. He unmuted just before “Alright….” The in car mic remaining active is why you don’t hear dead silence, but you can hear a click at the mute / unmute points. You can see, but not hear him talking during the muted section. Cops know when to mute in situations like this. This is the edited version of the stop. Unfortunately, there is no unedited version.

Mr. Johnson is lucky that the cop recognized who he was stopping. You can be sure that the stop – the delayed stop, at that – would have been handled much differently.

RW Price
2015 years 8 months ago

Roger broke the law plain and simple. Police chief reflected double standards in his comments. Ok, the next time I am stopped I am not expecting a ticket so long as I apoligize…Give me a break. Officer should have wrote a ticket. I don’t care who You are. It appeared that chief took up for roger in his own way. You make me sick.

2015 years 8 months ago

The actions of both of these men make me sick to my stomach. What’s good for one is not what’s good for all. When I saw this on TV tonight I lost total respect for the chief of police. This is crocked business. I never heard a verbal warning. All I heard was I’m late for a city director meeting. Guess my TV is screwed up. Totally disgusting behavior on both men’s parts.