Society

State Trooper Charles Swindle Fired for Giving State Official 'Discounted' Ticket

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A state trooper in Florida was fired after he cut a local politician's speeding ticket charge from $250 to $10, but the biggest shocker in the story is that the politician was the one who turned him in.

Charles Swindle gave state official Charles McBurney a break when he was pulled over for speeding, and thought he was doing the official a favor.

Many would expect the official to be grateful for the major decrease in his ticket cost, but he was actually appalled by the trooper's action, so much so that he reported him to his superior.

McBurney told Colonel David Brierton of the Florida Highway Patrol that Swindle gave him a $10 ticket when he should have given him one much higher.

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A week later, Swindle was fired.

But it seems Swindle is not the only trooper giving elected officials a break on tickets, as Swindle said it was a common practice among his coworkers, so he thought he was doing the right thing.

Sidney Matthew, Swindle's lawyer, said the situation "stinks."

"Florida Highway Patrol 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."

Administrators at the Florida Highway Patrol deny that troopers give discounts to officials when they pull them over.

"There is no policy that says we give anybody a free pass because they're elected officials," Julie Jones, from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, said.

McBurney said he wasn't expecting to receive special treatment.

"I didn't think that what he did was proper. I didn't think that was the way he should have acted towards me, or anyone else for that matter. I felt obligated to write the letter. My concern was, if he did that to me, he would do that to anybody," he said.

Shortly after Swindle pulled over McBurney, he pulled over another official, Rep. Mike Clelland. 

Swindle gave Clelland two citations for no proof of insurance and no car registration, though he was originally pulled over for going 87 in a 70 mph zone.

"I didn't ask him to give me any break," Clelland said. "I remember, he said, 'You're the second legislator I've pulled over today.'"

Sources: Daily Mail, Tampa Bay