Sunday, December 30, 2007

Atlantic Beach "Leader" Makes the News

This is so ridiculous. It would be funnier if it didn't reflect on North Myrtle Beach because of the proximity. Everyone I showed it to was floored at her resemblance to James Brown...:-)

Arrested town councilwoman: I just needed a bathroom
Associated Press Writer

A town councilwoman on Friday accused a police officer who arrested her of using excessive force, and said she desperately needed a bathroom when she was instead charged with resisting arrest during a traffic stop.

Retha Pierce Sturdivant, 58, was pulled over Christmas night for swerving on U.S. Highway 17 near Myrtle Beach, causing other cars to do the same to avoid collisions, according to a police report. When stopped, the Atlantic Beach mayor-elect jumped out of her van, locked the doors and told the officer she needed to go to the bathroom.

She was charged with resisting arrest, reckless driving and failing to give a signal, police said.

The officer, Robert Dale, said in a police report that Sturdivant tried to flee and ignored his commands to stop. Dale said he grabbed and arrested her.

Sturdivant disputes swerving and that she was trying to run. She said she quickly got out of her van to try to make it to a nearby hotel bathroom.

"He hollered something really harshly. I said, 'I'm about to wet my clothes.' The next thing I knew, he slinged me across the car real hard," she told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

Sturdivant, who was elected mayor by one vote last month, said she has a bladder problem.

"He actually hurt me when he pushed me up against the car. He jerked my arm behind me and put handcuffs on me too tight," she said. "It was turmoil and agony and confusion."

Horry County police have started an internal investigation, said Deputy Chief David Beaty. "She made some strong allegations against the officer," he said.

The officer remains on duty, Beaty said.

Sturdivant said she eventually wet her clothes and they had to be washed at the jail. At her request, she was taken to a hospital before being released the following day.

She said she still suffers from back and neck strain and swollen wrists.

Sturdivant said that when she told the officer she was a public official, he didn't care.

"It's not that I wanted preferential treatment or anything, but I thought that might help the situation if I let him know who I was," she said. "I said to him, 'I'm the mayor-elect of Atlantic Beach, I wouldn't do anything wrong.' He said, 'I don't care who you are.'"

Sturdivant was elected to town council last year. Her mayoral victory was challenged by the incumbent and town officials ordered a new election. Sturdivant is contesting that decision.

She would not say whether she would fight the criminal charges. She has scheduled a news conference Saturday at town hall.

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