Officer Michael McClatchy ticketed Swinney in the parking lot of a Bi-lo store where the Clemson coach was headed for his radio show Monday night Sept. 3. Swinney was picked up for speeding because he was clocked going 63mph in a 35 zone.
After seeing the police car behind them in the parking lot, Swinney and his brother, who was in the passenger seat, both came out of the car to talk to the officer. McClatchy was upset that they didn’t stay in the car like they were supposed to.
On Friday Sept. 14, McClatchy used company equipment to post about the incident on a 247sports.com message board and tell his side of the story.
Here’s what he wrote according to the Pickens County Courier:
The officer said he believed Swinney “thought he would be excused for the violation and continue to his appointment.” He said Swinney and his brother were asked to have a seat in the vehicle, which they did not. The officer also said the Bi-lo store manager approached him and told him a city official was on the phone and would like to speak with him, but the officer declined.
According to the officer, Swinney’s brother said that he was a retired Alabama police officer with more than 30 years of experience and asked the officer to take the fact into consideration.
After placing the citation in his vehicle, the officer said, Swinney gave the officer “what I would call an unfriendly glare, shook his head and proceeded to enter Bi-lo.” The officer said after Swinney entered the store, his brother once again approached the officer, expressing disappointment in his actions as a police officer.
Swinney took the ticket and put it in his car and went in to host his show. He later paid the fine and wrote an apology note. McClatchy was fired by the police department. The reason given was pretty idiotic.
They say McClatchy was fired for using company equipment which they say is a “violation of city computer policy, violation of code of ethics and violation of general orders.”
If that were really the concern, I could see McClatchy getting a warning not to do it again. Or if they were really serious about it, then maybe suspend him for a few days. But to fire him for that? It sure seems like they’re protecting Swinney and sending the message that those associated with Clemson football should be given preferential treatment. This really seems like an injustice for the officer.
Below is a video of the traffic stop (skip ahead to the 1:30 mark):