Wagener police officer suspended after traffic stop with council - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Wagener police officer suspended after traffic stop with councilman's son

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A Wagener police office is suspended with pay following a traffic stop involving a town councilman's son.

The son of Councilman George Smith, was pulled over for speeding, and Officer Dustin Johnson suspected that he was driving drunk. But, instead of conducting a field sobriety test, the officer let him go with just a warning.

Johnson told him that he turned off his dash cam recorder. However, a camera on Johnson's belt recorded the conversation between the two.

"My years of experience as a DUI specialist, you're not able to drive," said Johnson in the dash cam video. "That's just from looking at you and not having to do anything else. I could tell as soon as you stepped into the light."

Smith was pulled over, according to the officer, for driving 51 in a 30 mile per hour zone, which he was issued a warning for.

"How many of them you got in the car? You say you got two of three licenses? That's against the law, I don't need to hear anymore," said Johnson in the video.

The town isn't turning a blind eye to the stop. Instead Wagener's mayor, Mike Miller, sat down with us to set some things straight.

"I've asked the employees and office staff, anything we can do for our young people and the elderly we do, but that does not mean letting them go when they violate the law," said Miller.

Miller tells us he watched the video and he believes Smith did not appear intoxicated.

As for the speeding, Miller says, issuing a ticket is up to the officer. He feels Officer Johnson was just helping. He admits officers in the town have done this before.

The mayor told us about a case when a 17-year-old was sent home with his father, and an incident at a BP where an officer spotted an open container in a car, and simply poured the alcohol out.

We asked Miller if he believes any favoritism was shown by the police department, and he said he didn't feel like that was the case at all. 

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