Fired Trooper Apologizes; Woman Alleges Racist Treatment
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ A former state trooper who was fired after a video camera recorded him abusing a woman he pulled over for speeding apologized in a television interview broadcast Tuesday, saying he was stressed out by the dangers of his job.
The woman had refused to pull over for seven minutes after he turned on his siren and pursued her in an unmarked car. But she said she didn’t know he was a police officer.
She also claimed the white officer mistreated her because she was black.
``He would have stopped a white woman, he would have been angry at a white woman, but he wouldn’t have gotten on her back, he wouldn’t have treated her the way he treated me,″ Sandra Antoine Antor said.
Both Antor and Lance Cpl. W.H. Beckwith were interviewed by ``Dateline NBC,″ and other excerpts were shown on WIS-TV.
Beckwith, an 11-year Highway Patrol veteran, was fired last month after his superior officers learned of the Jan. 8 confrontation. His car’s video camera captured him shoving the unarmed woman onto the pavement, cursing her and threatening to cut her clothes off during the traffic stop.
During the television interview, tears welled in Beckwith’s eyes.
``I’m sorry,″ Beckwith said. Every traffic stop carries with it a measure of danger, he said, citing a similar traffic stop in 1994 in which his car was rammed repeatedly.
``Anytime anything like that happens, you immediately go into overdrive on the adrenalin and you immediately have a stress level (that) shoots way up,″ he said.
Antor, 26, said Beckwith was very angry when he stopped her car.
``Intense anger,″ she said. ``Rage would be a better word. Rage.″
``He couldn’t believe that this bitch didn’t stop for him. Who the hell do I think I am? This is his neck of the woods.″
Antor, a nursing student, was traveling alone to visit friends in North Carolina when she was stopped. She was accused of going 80 mph in a 65 mph zone.
Antor later pleaded guilty to speeding. A second charge of failure to stop for police was dropped. Her lawyers said she spent the night in jail and was released after someone from a local church posted bond.