Atlantic Beach mayor found guilty
Tue, 20 Mar 2012 18:40:48 GMT —
A jury of six found Atlantic Beach Mayor Retha Pierce guilty of driving left of the center line in a trial, Tuesday.
North Myrtle Beach police pulled Pierce over on November 22 at 12:40 a.m. She requested a jury trial to fight the ticket.
The jurors deliberated for less than ten minutes before coming back with their unanimous decision.
Pierce said that's because the jurors already had their mind made up she was guilty.
"You've got black folks going before an all white jury, when you've already got their racial and bigoted thoughts," said Pierce in court.
Pierce represented herself and said she could not see on the dash-cam video where she crossed the center line.
Officer Ian Vaughn pulled Pierce over that night.
In his presentation to the jury, Vaughn said Pierce crossed the center line twice before he pulled her over.
He admitted the dash-cam video was blurry because of the brightness of street lights, and one cannot see when Pierce crossed the center line the first time. But he showed the jury several times where he believed Pierce crossed the center line the second time.
Pierce said the evidence the city presented was false.
She also accused Vaughn of tampering with the dash-cam video.
"All I know is that I sat there crying at least ten minutes after he rode off after snapping at me on his motorcycle as I sat there crying," said Pierce.
But that story is contradicted by the video.
While she said the officer left her in the parking lot crying, the video shows her driving away immediately after the officer gave her the ticket.
She said her explanation shows that the video was manipulated.
"That was my car, but I don't know how on the video it is doing that. I'm not trying to persuade the jury of anything. I am telling the unadulterated truth. I am telling the truth," said Pierce.
The judge sentence Pierce to pay a fine of $237.50 by April 27th.
Pierce said she plans to pay the fine.