A journalist and county sheriff are at odds about what really happened on this car stop

By Joe Vargas

Last week, Boone County, Mo. Sheriff Dwayne Carey was irked.

A local journalist, Bill Clark, also known as Ol’ Clark, published a column in the Columbia Daily Tribune highly critical of the way he was treated by two of his deputies. After reading the column, Sheriff Carey asked to see the video replay. Apparently the entire stop was recorded by the deputies’ dash cam video.

In his column, Ol’ Clark related how he was “pulled over for not signaling a right turn, giving me a chance to understand how minority motorists feel when they are pulled over for the most trivial reason, or no reason at all.”

Ol’ Clark vents and writes, “I’m lucky I didn’t get shot” and “I’ve just come to appreciate even more the words of those minorities when they speak of harassment and police arrogance.”

Sheriff Carey decided the public deserved to know exactly what happened. So using social media, he posted a video of the entire stop. The entire contact from what I saw was very professional and courteous. If anything, it’s “Ol’ Clark” who seems to have a chip on his shoulder.

Screenshot of the Boone County, Mo. Sheriff’s Department Facebook page posting by Sheriff Dwayne Carey

Sheriff Casey shares his longer response on the Boone County Sheriff’s Department website. Sheriff Casey describes the female deputy in the video as an experienced officer just returning from a military deployment. She is accompanied by a field training officer who is making sure her skills are still intact after being away for awhile.

After a lengthy analysis, Sheriff Casey writes: “In today’s society, we have an abundance of outlets for anyone to say anything, whether it is accurate or not. There is no controlling it and rarely does anyone challenge it, as it seems like a losing battle. I have been guilty of letting things slide myself. Social media reigns supreme for these inaccuracies, closely followed by television media. Apparently you can also find it in some columns in the Tribune! What happened to integrity, as I am afraid it is becoming a thing of the past?”

Hence the description of being irked.

Chalk another one up for police video, but I would add one caveat: It’s great when the videos immediately exonerate officers and lies are exposed. There is the double-edged sword of what a department can do when video catches misconduct or the officers’ behavior isn’t up to expectations.

Luckily for the vast majority of police officers across the country, that isn’t something they are too worried about.

Joe is a retired Anaheim Police Department captain. You can reach him at jvargas@behindthebadgeoc.com