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Hartselle Enquirer

Cyclist who ticketed Barron was a radio DJ

By By Bob Martin, The Alabama Scene
The fellow on a motorcycle who chased State Sen. Lowell Barron, D-Fyffe from the Alabama-Florida line, up Highway 137 through the Conecuh National Forest, then up U. S. 29 to Andalusia, was a radio disc jockey, not a police officer as the media has reported.
Only The Fort Payne Times Journal got the story right, revealing that the human resources officer for the city of Andalusia said the man chasing Barron, Blaine Wilson, had resigned from the police force last December. She told the Times Journal that Wilson is definitely not employed by the city. Despite that, the city’s police chief and the officers who stopped Barron in Andalusia, allowed Wilson to write Barron tickets for reckless driving and running a stop sign as though he was a member of the force.
Without thoroughly checking the facts or reporting the incident correctly, the big daily newspapers in Alabama have already convicted Barron. The Birmingham News effectively deemed Barron guilty with an evident smirk in an editorial which stated Barron probably thought it was Sen. Charles Bishop on the motorcycle.
The incident began in Florida, just below the state line on July 27. I have traveled that lonely stretch of highway many times and believe me, I would never stop for a motorcycle on my rear bumper on a desolate road like that even if there was a blue light flashing.
Barron’s story
Here’s Barron’s story, as first reported by The Times-Journal and slightly altered by what Barron told me:
Fearful for his safety and traveling at an admitted high rate of speed, Barron said he did not pull over.
The citations were for reckless driving and running a stop sign. Barron has a court date set for Sept. 16 in Covington County, according to the citation.
Barron’s lawyers should ask these questions
Were I Barron’s lawyers I would want to know answers to the following questions?
(1) Why the Andalusia police officers and the police chief, who should have known Wilson was no longer on the force, allowed him to write the tickets? I realize there are certain times a citizens’ arrest might be lawful, but in this case I doubt such is within the law.
(2) Why Wilson hasn’t been arrested for impersonating a police officer, and at the very least, cited for speeding and reckless driving himself?
(3) Why it was assumed in Andalusia that Wilson had jurisdiction to initiate a chase of Barron outside Andalusia’s corporate limits, even if he were an authorized city law enforcement officer?
(4) Why the case shouldn’t be moved to another jurisdiction?
Even legislators have some rights, particularly if they think Sen. Bishop is chasing them.
Bob Martin is editor and publisher of The Montgomery Independent. E-mail him at: bob@montgomeryindependent.com