PICKENS, SC – A South Carolina police officer who issued a speeding ticket to Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney was fired after using company equipment to post an account of it on the Internet.
Pickens Police Chief Rodney Gregory said in a release that officer Michael McClatchy used a department computer Sept. 14 to detail what he said happened during the stop.
Swinney was clocked going 63 mph in a 35 mph zone Sept. 3 on the way to his radio call-in show. He was cited for speeding and the officer reduced the penalty to a minimum fine and points, according to Gregory.
McClatchy’s post on a sports website said he thought Swinney expected to be excused for the violation. He also said that he was told by Gregory the day after the traffic stop that Swinney had called Gregory at home the night he was stopped and said McClatchy acted unprofessionally.
Gregory said Swinney paid the fine and included a letter of regret with his payment.
In the letter, obtained by FOX Carolina, Swinney expresses his respect for law enforcement and apologizes for speeding and being a distraction. The coach also said he wished the situation had been handled differently.
Gregory said both Swinney and the officer displayed themselves in a professional manner during the traffic stop.
Gregory issued McClatchy an employee warning report Sept. 17 that stated he violated the city’s computer policy, a code of ethics and general orders, resulting in his dismissal.
The report also stated that McClatchy had received previous verbal warnings from superiors Jan. 7 and May 4. The first warning was in reference to some comments he allegedly made to another officer’s girlfriend, which showed a lack of professionalism the department would not tolerate.
The second verbal warning was about McClatchy’s alleged use of another officer’s computer, which was prohibited by Gregory in March, with every officer being warned multiple times, according to the warning statement issued to McClatchy.
McClatchy’s supervisor wrote in the statement that McClatchy used another officer’s computer and by logging in, multiple tickets were duplicated.
Pickens City Administrator Katherine Brackett said McClatchy had only worked for Pickens Police since Sept. 2011.
In a statement Monday, a spokesman for Swinney said the coach deserved the ticket. The spokesman said Swinney never called anyone and ask that the officer be fired.