BRINKLEY, Ark. (KTHV) -- The chief of the Brinkley Police Department is defending himself and his record after THV11 reviewed dash cam video that appears to show him being given preferential treatment during a traffic stop.
A viewer first alerted THV11 to the fact that Chief Edward Randle was pulled over while driving in Clarendon on Friday, October 21.
Video of the traffic stop, obtained from the Arkansas State Police, shows a state trooper pulling over a red pickup truck. Randle told THV11 that it is his personal vehicle, and that he was driving. The state trooper was asked to assist a Brinkley police officer with stopping Randle.
When the trooper approached Randle’s truck, he can be heard in the video laughing as he apparently recognizes who Randle is. The trooper does not ask for any identification. His first question was “Where are you going so fast?” Randle responded that he was headed to the game. He clarified to THV11 that he was scheduled to referee the Clarendon-Marvell football game that evening.
The Brinkley police officer then entered the video to approach Randle’s truck. The trooper says the officer had been following Randle for miles and called the ASP for help. As the officer walked up, Randle can be heard giving him a hard time.
“I know you didn’t call the State Police!” he says.
“I didn’t have your plate, so it didn’t go over,” the officer responds, which could indicate that, since the officer did not announce the truck’s license plate number into his radio, nobody else would know the chief had been pulled over.
After the trooper made a quick joke about getting a call because the truck was going so fast, the officer can be heard saying, “I had you locked in at 107.” Randle responded, “It won’t do 107. It’ll only do 95.”
Randle told THV11 that his truck has a governor on its engine that prevents it from going more than 95 miles per hour.
The officer then responded that he was driving 90 miles an hour and that Randle was still pulling away from him. They laugh a bit more, and then, roughly 45 seconds after the trooper first approached Randle’s window, the officer can be heard saying, “See you later, Chief,” as the two men walk back to their cars and Randle drives away.
As the trooper entered his car, the officer asked him how fast he had Randle driving. The trooper responded, “71 at the curve.”
THV11 spoke with Randle twice by phone on Monday and gave him the opportunity to record an interview to explain his side of the story, which he declined. He said never got close to the 95 mile per hour limit he mentioned regarding the governor on his truck. He also said he was not driving 71 miles per hour when he was pulled over.
Benjamin Martin, a Clarendon business owner, was driving home from work when he saw the traffic stop, and pulled over when he noticed a Brinkley police car making a stop inside Clarendon city limits.
“I find it, you know, very disheartening, that anyone, public official or not, would show such blatant disregard for the speed limit, and put the lives of innocent others at risk,” Martin said.
Though the state trooper claimed that the officer had been pursuing Randle for miles, Randle told THV11 that the officer was on his way to Clarendon to get fingerprints from someone at the county jail.
"I just feel that no one's above the law, and you know, if it was me, I would've gotten a ticket," Martin said.
Randle believes his traffic stop, and the fact that he did not receive a ticket, should not be a public issue.
He mentioned that he has worked in law enforcement for nearly three decades, and that he knows better than to endanger the lives of other drivers, or his own, by driving recklessly. Martin said he has never had an issue with Randle or the Brinkley Police Department, but felt that Randle’s job title gave him a free pass that he did not deserve.
“As a chief of police, and as a law enforcement officer, you’re sworn to protect and serve, which is the opposite of putting the lives of others at risk.”
A spokesman for the Arkansas State Police told THV11 that the trooper who pulled Randle over is not being investigated for any kind of wrongdoing for his role in the traffic stop. The spokesman said he was there to help pull the truck over, and that it became the Brinkley Police Department’s case as soon as the officer arrived.