Most rational people would do what 19-year-old Luke Brenneman instinctively did to protect himself last July 16th as he was driving through Floyd County on his way home from basketball camp - seek to avoid.
Considering the fact that there had been recent reports of fake cops pulling over unsuspecting victims in Floyd County, Indiana, where this incident occurred, Brenneman sped up in an attempt to protect himself from potential harm. What Brenneman didn't realize at the time was the unmarked car was actually being driven by Clarksville Town Police Officer Tony Bryant.
"I did not know he was an officer so I sped up a little more to get away from him and then he proceeded to pull me over," said Brenneman.
Brenneman says it all started after he switched lanes on I-65 to pass a semi truck north of Clarksville, Indiana, which is in Floyd County. He said he was driving in the right lane and noticed a white Ford Explorer driving in the left lane.
"I came up behind the semi truck and he was still in the left lane," said Brenneman. "I had plenty of room to get in front of him, so I decided to switch lanes and pass the semi."
Brenneman says this is when the driver of the white Ford Explorer began aggressively tailgating him. Brennen eventually pulled over even though he remained wary about the identity of the individual who was driving an unmarked vehicle, not wearing a uniform, and carrying a revolver on his belt.
Brenneman recorded a testy verbal exchange with the officer, who admitted to "pacing" Brenneman's vehicle. After telling Brenneman that he was driving 100 mph, the wary driver explained that he was afraid since he was being tailgated by an unmarked vehicle.
"You came behind me and I sped up because I was afraid," Brenneman tells the officer in the video. "I didn't know who you were."
After Bryant wrote Brenneman a citation for reckless driving, Brenneman questioned the fairness of the ticket since the officer was tailgating him in what Brenneman thought was a reckless manner.
"How is it fair that you, in an unmarked vehicle, comes up behind me, and I don't care if it's pacing or not..." said Brenneman before he was interrupted by the officer.
"It's the law," interrupted Bryant.
"That's not the law," insisted Brenneman. "It's a two second rule." (This is referring to a rule in the Indiana Driving Manual that drivers keep at least a 2 to 4 second space between vehicles to avoid accidents.)
After threatening the driver with jail if he didn't sign the ticket, Brenneman told the officer he thought it was "ridiculous" before referring to him as an "asshole."
Cop Allegedly Lies to Boss About Verbal Exchange
|Luke Brenneman (left) with his brothers|
Brennaman's father reportedly called the prosecutor and was told that if they got an attorney he would likely drop the reckless driving charge and reduce it to speeding. Local attorney John Mayer was retained as private counsel and reportedly told the Brennemans that the court clerk "began to scream at him" when he tried to explain the situation to her.
"When my father talked to the attorney again he said the four clerks run the court courthouse and the prosecutor," stated Brenneman. "They did not come to agreement on anything."
Brenneman was also reportedly told that the prosecutor mentioned jail time, a felony, and loss of license for a year in addition to also being threatened with an additional charge of evading police being added. (You might want to check out the remedy for prosecutorial vindictiveness, Mr. Brenneman.)
Brenneman says his father also spoke to the Clarksville Assistant Police Chief who reportedly stated that Officer Bryant claimed that Brenneman used vulgar language, including the F-word, during the exchange with the officer.
Apparently, Officer Bryant didn't realize the conversation was being video recorded, because that clearly was not the case.
This is a classic example of why it is vitally important to record all exchanges with the police. This is also an example of why more people should invoke their right to a jury trial.
This writer can vouch for the character of Luke Brenneman. He comes from one of the finest families in the area, and he's the cream of the crop when it comes to young men with good character.
Luke is a Purdue student majoring in Organizatonal Leadership and Supervision with a 3.5 GPA. He serves as a student manager for the Purdue Men's Basketball Team and is involved in the Purdue Fellowship of Christian Athletes. In fact, Luke Brenneman was driving home from Lexington, Kentucky after having finished working at a basketball camp when the unmarked vehicle began tailgating him.
Luke did what any rational individual would do in this circumstance. And considering the fact that there had been fake cops pulling people over in that area, he did the prudent thing. If anyone deserves a ticket for reckless driving, that would be Officer Bryant. He also deserves a reprimand for lying to his superior officer just so he can take a good kid down. No wonder it's hard for good police officers to get respect these days when you have bullies like this out making our roads unsafe to drive on.
Let this be a lesson to all of us. Avoid that little speed trap in Clarksville, Indiana and the nasty employees in that politically-corrupt little town in Southern Indiana.