CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – An officer with the Charleston Police Department’s Traffic Division has resigned after an Internal Affairs investigation found that he’d written unwarranted tickets to motorists without their knowledge.
The news release stated that Michael Baker, a CPD officer since 2014, acknowledged to investigators that he engaged in the practice of writing additional, unwarranted tickets to violators without their knowledge, then later dismissing those tickets in court.
Public Information Officer Charles Francis stated that the officer was artificially inflating the number of tickets written in an attempt to conceal the fact that he was not actively and appropriately patrolling his area.
A second traffic officer is currently under investigation for the same offense.
All pending tickets written by both officers are being dismissed and unwarranted tickets were dismissed by the officers at the time in order to hide their wrongdoing.
Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds said, “I want to be very clear on this point, to both the public and our officers. There’s no room in our department – none whatsoever — for this kind of misconduct. And anyone who engages in it will be caught swiftly, and removed from the force without delay.”
In response to the investigation, News 2 asked the Charleston Police Department if they have a citation quota for officers.
Spokesperson for CPD, Charles Francis said, “Our officers do not have a quota.” News 2 than asked if there is any kind of performance expectation for officers when it comes to writing tickets, and Francis replied with the similar quote, “There are no quotas.”
Charleston resident, Cedric Brown said he has been a victim of officers giving him unwarranted tickets.
“I’ve been issued a whole lot of unwarranted tickets, pulled over for no reason, searched for no reason, enough is enough,” Brown said.
He believes that Baker should face more punishment for distributing unwarranted tickets. “He needs to pay for all of those tickets and he needs to serve at least one year in jail,” Brown said. “If it were a civilian they would be in jail and no one is above the law.”
Moving Forward, Brown said officers should focus on one thing only.
“That’s to serve and protect that’s it,” Brown said.