UPDATE: Video shows Gordon mayor’s frustration with police officer
Gordon’s Mayor Mary Ann Whipple-Lue was almost arrested by her own police department.
Gordon Police Investigator Andy Hester had his body camera rolling while arresting a man who was being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a suspended license.
The officer says he was interrupted by the Mayor Whipple-Lue, who started demanding that he remove the violator’s car out of her driveway.
The following is what happened according to the recording:
“Let him move it then,” says the mayor. “Ma’am” says the officer.
“What is he being charged with?” asked the mayor. “This is a traffic stop, I’m not going to ask you again, please,” says officer.
“I’m gonna tell you to get out of my way,” the Mayor said. “Please go back to your vehicle,” says the officer. “You got to ask me, now you’re defying me,” says the mayor. “Ma’am,” says the officer.
“Now, I’m the mayor so get this car out of my way so I can get out,” says the Mayor. “I’m not going to ask you again to go back to your vehicle,” says the officer. “I’m not going to ask you again to get out of my way,” says the mayor.
“Let me tend to my business,” says the officer. “Now, you gonna arrest me?” asked the mayor. “I will arrest you for obstruction,” says the officer. “Oh, you will not arrest me. Oh, you better not arrest me,” says the mayor. “Oh, yes ma’am I will,” says the officer.
“You better get out of my way. Okay, we’ll see about this,” says the mayor. “Please go back to your vehicle,” says the officer. “You got some nerve,” says the mayor.
“Please go back to your vehicle. I’m not gonna ask you again,” says the officer. “I’m not gonna ask you to get out of my way again,” says the mayor.
City Councilwoman Barbara Towles was with the mayor during the heated confrontation with police. She called officer Hester two hours after the incident.
The following is an excerpt from the audio tape recording:
“Because I was driving my vehicle, that’s why I’m calling and apologizing,” says Towles.
“That’s fine. Y’all were just coming down there to see what was going on,” says the officer.
“Yea, that’s what I was doing,” says Towles.
Officer Hester says he did not want to move the violator’s car out of the mayor’s driveway because Gordon Police Department does not have liability insurance.
“If I get in that car and something happens to it, the city is liable for that,” Hester said. He could be held personally liable for any damages to the violator’s car.
“I’m not going to put myself nor the city in that position,” he added.
The police investigator says he was doing his job when the city officials approached him.
“You try to diffuse the situation,” says Hester about the heated argument with Whipple-Lue. “I really didn’t want to arrest the mayor, the councilwoman, and I really didn’t want to arrest the guy I was arresting.”
Gordon Police Chief Mike Hall says it is illegal for anyone to interfere with an officer making a traffic stop.
“The mayor put herself in a dangerous situation because she walked up on the officer while he was handling the traffic stop and had no idea what was going on,” said Chief Hall.
Hall admitted in his 13 years as police chief, his department has never had a traffic stop like the one with the mayor.
41NBC reached out to Mayor Whipple-Lue and City Councilwoman Barbara Towles. Both declined to comment about the traffic stop.