Troopers charge Durham officer with speeding

January 28, 2008 9:00:00 PM PST
An internal investigation is underway after an off-duty incident that is raising a lot of questions.

The officer was pulled over by the N.C. Highway Patrol for speeding. That's when the trooper says he smelled alcohol, but instead of arresting the officer, the trooper called the officer's supervisor on Saturday.

However, on Tuesday night, Highway Patrol Public Information Officer, Lieutenant Everett Clendenin says troopers charged Anthony Harris with speeding 84 mph in a 45 mph zone as a result of the traffic stop Saturday in Durham County. The Patrol is reviewing the Troopers actions.

Usually when a person is pulled over and strongly suspected of drinking and driving, the driver's car is impounded and the driver is arrested.

That didn't happen Saturday night when Trooper David Smith pulled over off-duty Durham Police Officer Anthony Harris for speeding on Junction Road in Durham.

According to the highway patrol, Harris had alcohol on his breath. Timothy Potts lives on Junction Road and speculates on how he would have been treated if in the same situation.

"I'd be in jail right now to be honest with you," Potts said. "They let the police get by with it man. They should have charged him like they do everybody else. I mean what makes him any different then anybody else."

Smith gave Harris a Breathalyzer, but the results aren't being released. Harris was released after Smith called his Durham Police supervisor to the scene.

"I know someone looking in could question it, but I can assure you that this trooper, in talking with him, this officer would have been arrested had he been in violation of the law," Clendenin said.

But Harris' motorcycle was towed from the scene and he went home with his supervisor.

"They shouldn't do it," Potts said. "I mean nobody should get out here and drink and drive. I mean you can kill somebody."

Lt. Clendenin also told Eyewitness News that although he's not required to do so, his trooper felt compelled to let the Durham Police Department know he had stopped one of their own.

Officer Harris remains on the job as an internal police department investigation continues.


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