WSFA confirmed a Prattville police officer pulled over councilman Bobby Carter a week and a half ago on Highway 14 near Interstate 65. It was a minor traffic violation. Councilman Carter didn't want to talk publicly about the matter but we're told it was ugly.
"I'm sure if Councilman Carter had a chance to do it over again he would have used different language," says Mayor Jim Byard.
In an e-mail sent to WSFA, the unidentified writer says "during the stop, Carter became extremely vulgar and belligerent with the officer. Carter screamed obscenities at the officer and one can only assume that he was not arrested due to his position on the city council."
"I talked to Councilman Carter about this as well as Chief Wadsworth," says Mayor Byard.
The officer in question recorded much of the conversation he had with Carter on audio tape which was attached to the officer's uniform. The actual incident was not recorded on video because the officer's police car was parked in front of Carter's 18-wheeler. Mayor Byard says he listened to the tape twice and is thoroughly convinced the police officer conducted himself and the traffic stop professionally and he did nothing wrong.
"As far as I'm concerned, he did everything correct. I know Councilman Carter will disagree with me but we've disagreed before," says the mayor.
To be fair to Councilman Carter, there is no evidence on the tape, according to Mayor Byard, that Carter tried to influence the officer because of his councilman's position. The police officer has the option of whether to write a ticket. In this case, the officer chose not to.
The Prattville Police Department refused to allow WSFA to record the audio, saying the actual recording belongs to the officer.. not the city, and Mayor Byard declined to identify the officer involved. We're told officers sometimes have their own recording device to help protect themselves in potential legal situations.
The officer is a Sgt., a veteran on the force who received 52 hours worth of training last year. That could cover anything from dealing with the public to updates on criminal law. The minimum standard is 12 hours a year.