Sunday, August 24, 2014

Local Citizen Fears For Safety After Being Tailgated by Unmarked Police Car, Now Threatened With Jail Time; Cop Allegedly Lies to Boss About Verbal Exchange

What would you do if you were suddenly being aggressively tailgated by an unmarked SUV on the Interstate?

 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
Brenneman was clearly frustrated with the ordeal, however, decided to pay the fine and put the matter behind him. He was surprised, however, when the money order was returned to him with a notice that he must appear in court to answer to the charge of reckless driving.

 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.

13 comments:

  1. wow i would keep fighting it thats not the law tail gating is tail gating and its also considered road rage fight it to the end luke this guy is an asshole

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  2. Luke was very argumentative, disrespectful, demanding, if I’d been the cop I’d of taken him to jail for being a jerk.

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    1. Your attitude is concerning, because at issue here is the fact an officer dangerously tailgated a 19-year-old kid at a very high rate of speed. In Lafayette, these high speed "chases" are always called off due to safety concerns. You can't arrest someone for being "argumentative, disrespectful, and demanding." Your view of Luke's attitude should have nothing to do with any charges. Also, put yourself in Luke's position. Imagine the adrenaline that was pumping through his body after being chased by what he thought was someone who was trying to cause him serious bodily harm. He had no idea it was a police officer. Who wouldn't be angry after being chased down with such disregard for public safety? He had every right to be a little testy. The officer was clearly wrong, and it isn't Luke's attitude that is on trial here.

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    2. Luke had every right to be upset after being chased down by a cop who should have known better than to endanger every driver on that Interstate. And the fact that he lied about what Luke said should cause him to get a reprimand and perhaps a 3-day suspension. There is no law that says one must be polite to a cop who was so out of line it shouldn't even be a debate. I doubt Anon 3:53 would have handled it any better had he/she been the one who was terrorized by a cop with road rage.

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    3. It's not illegal to be a jerk or you'd be sitting in jail yourself.

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  3. Thank goodness Anon 3:53 isn't a cop. Good grief we'd have the jails filled. Really?? Do we want to the fill the jails because someone is a jerk? Which the boy clearly isn't. The fuzz kept saying "sign the ticket or you're going to jail.....like jail is the goal of the lawmen. We are in trouble in this country.

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    1. You may not have noticed that we do have jails filled, and the highest incarceration rate in the world. Not for nothing is this called Prison Nation.

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  4. Can anyone recommend a particular make/model of front and rear recording dash cam which can also record audio? I'm looking to purchase one have it operational in my vehicle before the West Lafayette Police have their checkpoint set up this coming Thursday, August 28 (as reported earlier by WLFI).

    Even if you have audio and video recordings of these encounters, a judge might not allow the recording to be used as evidence in court (prosecutors frequently submit motions to exclude such evidence so a jury would not get to see and/or hear the recording). Doesn't seem fair, but it happens all the time.

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  5. After driving 40+ yrs. Leave sooner or drive a bit under the limit. And semi drivers need to have refresher courses yearly..

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  6. Is the video on YouTube? I can't watch it on here?

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  7. Some one correct me if I'm wrong but I believe in IN that it's against policy to pull over a motorist in an unmarked car and when the Officer is not in uniform. If I remember right it had to do with fake cops pulling people over several years ago.

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    1. Yes, it is. In the state of Indiana if you are pulling someone over in an unmarked car you must have your badge and be in uniform.

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  8. So did this get thrown out in the end? The cop is not in a "distinctive uniform" or clearly marked vehicle as is required by Indiana State Law for all police officers enforcing traffic laws.

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