A Florida state trooper was recently fired for not issuing a speeding ticket to a lawmaker.
Rep. Charles McBurney explained that he was doing 87 in a 75 mph speed zone. However, the officer who pulled him over failed to issue him a ticket. Florida Highway Patrol trooper Charles Swindle was later fired for not doing his job as a result.
“If those who enforce our laws fail to meet the highest ethical standards, there is erosion of that confidence,” McBurney argued. “I am concerned that as Trooper Swindle acted in such fashion to me, that he would do so to any law-abiding citizen of our state.”
Swindle is a six-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol. The trooper reportedly told the dispatcher that he was only going to issue the representative a warning for the speeding violation.
Instead of paying $280 for speeding, McBurney was given a $10 citation for not having proof of insurance. The state trooper was fired over failing to issue the ticket after an international investigation was launched. He was let go for “conduct unbecoming a public employee.”
Swindle has since hired an attorney to challenge the firing. The trooper explained that there was an unwritten policy about giving tickets to state lawmakers.
Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles executive director Julie Jones said Swindle’s claim about the unofficial policy is completely untrue. She said official records prove that lawmakers have been issued speeding tickets in the past.
“That’s horse hockey. There is no policy that says we give anybody a free pass because they’re elected officials,” she explained.
Swindle is also accused of giving another motorist a break after discovering the individual was a retired firefighter. Instead of issuing him a ticket for speeding, the driver got away with two citations for failing to provide proof of insurance and not having his car registration.
Attorney Sidney Matthew of Tallahassee believes that Swindle was unjustly fired from his position with Florida Highway Patrol.
“FHP can’t have it both ways, with a policy of discretion to cut breaks to legislators who are speeding and then turn around and fire them,” Matthew explained.
Do you think the state trooper should have been fired for not issuing the lawmaker a speeding ticket?
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