One Florida lawman has been fired after letting a Florida lawmaker off easy.
Florida Highway Patrol trooper Charles Swindle stopped state Rep. Charles McBurney of Jacksonville for doing 87 mph in a 70 mph zone back in November. The license plate on McBurney’s car identified him as a state lawmaker. Swindle checked with his sergeant and ended up giving the state representative a $10 ticket for lacking proof of insurance instead of the $280 ticket he could have handed out for the speeding violation. Swindle told McBurney "I'm cutting you a break." Swindle, who has since been fired for not writing the more expensive ticket, certainly didn’t get a break of his own.
According to Florida state investigators, McBurney was not the only driver that Swindle let off on the day in question, telling his dispatcher “I’m going to write (McBurney) a warning and be nice; I’m going to stroke him ’cause I didn’t see his insurance card."
McBurney was so troubled by the incident that he wrote a letter to Swindle’s superiors. The letter, which was on legislature letterhead, complained that Swindle was giving preferential treatment to state officials. (McBurney also denied that he was going 87 mph.)
"If those who enforce our laws fail to meet the highest ethical standards, there is erosion of that confidence," McBurney wrote. "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."
McBurney’s letter prompted an internal investigation that resulted in Swindle being fired two weeks ago for "conduct unbecoming a public employee." Since being fired, Swindle and his attorney have appealed his dismissal. They are contending that the Florida Highway Patrol has an unwritten policy of letting state lawmakers off the hook during traffic stops. The FHP denies that claim, according to Yahoo.