Perdue: Trooper texts inappropriate not illegal


The troopers are under fire after a Raleigh couple accused them of bullying and harassment. Earlier this week, the Highway Patrol released text messages exchanged between officers Andrew Smith and Edward Wyrick during the incident that prompted the complaint.

Perdue has spoken out against Smith for using inappropriate language in his message.

"I look forward to the results tomorrow," Perdue said.

Thursday, the Governor specifically addressed the texts in which Smith used profanity regarding Gin and Hoyt Tessener.

"I think the messages were totally inappropriate, the content of the messages," Perdue said. "I don't believe they're criminal, and I don't believe they're offenses to fire over. But I do believe the messages were wrong. We don't hire these guys to be choir boys."

State Senator Thom Goolsby, who is a lawyer in Wilmington, says he sees both of the troopers regularly in court. He goes further than Perdue, fully defending the two men.

"If somebody texts that back and forth and that's the way people talk amongst themselves, okay," he said. "But does that mean they did anything wrong? Of course not."

But some say the text messages speak to a bigger cultural issue at the Highway Patrol - one Perdue vowed to fix last year.

"I for one believe that everybody ought to have a chance to read the report and hear the report and see if what we think has happened really happened," Perdue said. "Now, that's what America's great about. I have zero tolerance, but yet I'm smart enough to know when there's an ongoing investigation, I've got to step back and let the investigation happen."

Perdue didn't address the allegations of conspiracy. The complaint alleges the troopers "set up" the Tesseners in a second traffic stop later that night. That issue should be addressed in the internal affairs investigation.

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