Police Dashboard Video Leads to Officer’s Firing

The majority of police officers do their best to not only uphold the law, but to protect the citizens of the cities and states they serve in as well.  However, there are those officers who abuse the power and authority they hold and injure those they are sworn to protect.

In Huntsville, Alabama, city officials have released a copy of the dashboard video from a former police officer’s car that shows his rough treatment of a female driver which resulted in personal injury to the woman.  The December 13, 2011 incident, led to the firing of Huntsville police officer, Phillip Lee, Jr. 

Lee had been with the police force since 2008, and was assigned to the south precinct.  On December 13, 2011, Lee was patrolling in Blossomwood and pulled over a motorist for speeding.  A video camera and microphone in Lee’s cruiser captured what happened when he pulled Edith Stewart over for speeding. After Lee approaches the car, Stewart asks the officer if he would like a teenager.  Officer Lee answered to the negative, and told Stewart that she needed to slow down in the neighborhood.  Stewart then opens her driver’s door, begins yelling that she and her daughter were fighting, but doesn’t finish her sentence because Lee yanks her out of her seat.  The video then shows Stewart hitting Lee in the chest, Lee slamming Stewart against the side of the car and then throwing her to the ground as two other officers approach.

Police Chief Lewis Morris felt that Lee’s behavior not only during this traffic stop, but another unrelated arrest in October 2011, violated many city personnel rules, which included conduct unbecoming an employee, incompetence, neglect or inefficiency in the performance of duties, and habitual or repetitive acts of misconduct.

According to Lee, he perceived the traffic stop to be a domestic violence situation as the driver was yelling and there was a young girl crying in the front seat of the car.  Lee contends his firing was not supported by the facts established by an impartial hearing officer who viewed all the evidence and heard from witnesses.  The Huntsville City Council is expected to decide this week whether or not Lee will be given his job back.