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Terry Meiners Watterson X-way traffic stop - March 18, 2011

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Published on Aug 7, 2011

This Louisville Metro Police Department dashcam video of a double traffic stop shows the police cruiser's speed, but no other information about the speed of any radar target. The officer pulls over a passing car by activating police lights. The police cruiser then hovers over a lane separation line, enters the fast lane, and awaits a second car moving toward the lighted police car. The second car's driver, Terry Meiners, rolls up and parks behind the police car. At 0:33 seconds into the video, the officer's microphone activates, revealing that he's talking on his phone while simultaneously accelerating around traffic, pulling over two vehicles in separate pursuits. Both drivers are told that they were "running 75 in a 55" mph speed limit zone. The driver of the first car accepted the policeman's word and paid his fine. He would later testify in court that he didn't think he was driving 75 mph, and that he was going his fastest speed while passing the unmarked police car in this video. Meiners can be heard denying the allegation multiple times on the video (0:59, 2:01, and 8:58). He ultimately challenged the charge in court. A Jefferson District Court jury found Meiners not guilty on November 14, 2011. An expert witness testified that the visible first car was traveling 63 to 65 mph, not 75 mph as claimed by the police officer. On the video, the officer claims he tracked the first car at 75 and then tracked Meiners' car separately at 75 as his car approached from behind. Under oath at the trial, the officer told a different story, saying that he had tracked both cars together "in tandem" prior to the location shown at the start of the video. The officer did not explain why additional footage was not made available for review. The officer also gave contradictory testimony regarding his cell phone use time, and the original position of the tracked cars, claiming that the two alleged speeders were so close in formation that the police car had to be wedged in between the two drivers. The police officer claimed Meiners nearly "ran up on" his police car, despite its activated emergency lights. When pressed in court, the officer had no answer for why he did not cite Meiners for the alleged claims of following too closely or reckless driving (since he was allegedly about to "run up on" an illuminated police car). At trial, the first driver testified that there was clearly abundant separation between both allegedly speeding cars, directly challenging the police officer's contention that the two drivers were bumper-to-bumper. Another inconsistency in the officer's testimony: He said under oath that he cites only drivers traveling at least 15 mph over the limit. In this case, an expert testified that the driver of the first car was traveling 8 to 10 mph over the limit. The prosecution attempted to shift attention to Meiners' WHAS Radio show. Under oath, Meiners acknowledged that he called the officer "a liar" 15 times on the air in March "and two more times today" (on the witness stand). On March 18 and 22 on WHAS Radio, Meiners called the officer "Black Barney" and "Black Car Barney," noting the infamous black Ford Mustang used to detain motorists every weekday on local highways. Meiners said those radio character terms were a combination of the car, Barney Fife, and Black Bart, the notorious stagecoach robber from the 1870s. Meiners equated an officer issuing costly citations on insufficient evidence with the stagecoach robbers who "took money from the people just passing through." The officer said he felt he'd been defamed by the radio comments. In July 2011, the officer authorized a local attorney to demand a monetary settlement and an on-air retraction to resolve all claims. Meiners refused and the case went to trial. Meiners' attorney, Steve Pence, told the jury of four minorities and two whites that the officer was using the ticket and Meiners' remarks for a shakedown. Pence continued, "I called him a liar; he can sue me if he wants." More details here: http://www.lmpd.com/news/index.php?si... UPDATE: The LMPD has installed software upgrades to provide the speeds of moving radar targets into the video page "TGT" (target) screen on certain police cars. As of May 2011, LMPD instituted a new policy dissuading officers from using cell phones while driving. At the trial, the police officer admitted that he had first told the prosecutor that he'd "just gotten on the phone," when in fact, cell phone records verified that he'd been conversing with his girlfriend for six minutes. The officer repeatedly corrected the court record to show that she was now his "ex" girlfriend. --- Related LMPD news: http://www.lmpd.com/news/index.php?si... http://www.lmpd.com/news/index.php?si...

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