Darlington, SC – The chief of police credited an officer with using the “highest level of professionalism” in dealing with a city councilwoman who made racially-charged remarks to him when he issued her a parking ticket.
The incident occurred when Darlington Police Officer Paul Bryant encountered an illegally parked SUV in the area of Oak Street on June 17, WMBF reported.
Officer Bryant later filed a police report about the incident that accused Baccus of verbally harassing him, WPDE reported.
It wasn’t the first time Officer Bryant had encountered the same illegally-parked vehicle and on the prior occasion, he had only issued a warning.
Darlington Police Chief Kelvin Washington said that the SUV belonged to Darlington City Councilwoman Sheila Baccus.
Baccus came out of the house while Officer Bryant was issuing the $10 parking infraction, WPDE reported.
“Why are you harassing us? You don’t have anything better to do than write parking tickets?” Baccus asked the police officer, according to WMBF.
The police report said that Officer Bryant told the city councilwoman that he wasn’t harassing her and said if she had a complaint, she should take it to the chief of police, WPDE reported.
“Then she said ‘I will, what your name?’” Baccus asked, according to the report. “At that time, she made a call on her cell phone. ‘Why do you have this white officer over here harassing us?’ Then it looked like she ended the call and said to this officer ‘The chief said he will take care of this ticket.’ Then I stated that’s good, I wasn’t harassing anyone.”
That’s when the councilwoman’s nasty tone turned racist, WPDE reported.
“Take your white self back to the white neighborhood,” Baccus told the officer. “You’re probably the kind that would shoot us in the back.”
She later called Chief Washington and told him the ticket would be taken care of, WMBF reported.
The chief issued a statement in support of Officer Bryant, WPDE reported.
“On June 17, 2020, an unattended white SUV was improperly parked on Oak Street,” the statement read. “An officer approached the vehicle and placed a parking ticket on the vehicle for being improperly parked. It was later discovered that the vehicle was being operated by Councilwoman Sheila Baccus.”
“The officer handled this interaction with Councilwoman Baccus with the highest level of professionalism and he has my complete support,” the chief said. “He did nothing wrong and said nothing wrong. He was simply just doing his job. Any questions about Councilwoman Baccus’ actions or comments that day would be best answered by her. The parking ticket was paid two days after the incident.”
Darlington Mayor Curtis Boyd has referred all questions about the incident directly to Baccus, WBTW reported.
However, the councilwoman has not returned calls and emails from the media.