On October 4th, local attorney and former City Council member Stephanie Brinkerhoff-Riley used her personal Facebook page to post her version of a car stop made by an Evansville Police Officer. In the post, she claimed the officer encouraged her to improperly use her connections as an attorney to get the ticket taken care of. She went on to compare the officer’s behavior to a rogue cop from a TV show.
Her post read:
–I was pulled over for failing to stop fully at a stop sign. It was a young officer who noted he knew who I was but still had to give me the ticket. He told me “you can probably go talk to a judge and take care of it. I’m sure you know plenty’. He was so clueless in his suggestion to act improperly, I didn’t say anything. However, I immediately saw a Law and Order episode. He was the young cop who due to inexperience and naivety gets caught up in a police crime ring. He doesn’t have the courage initially to say no. Of course then he wants out and can’t live with the guilt. –-
Due to the serious nature of the claims made by Mrs. Brinkerhoff-Riley, the Evansville Police Department looked into the situation as soon as the post was shared with a department supervisor.
The traffic stop happened back on August 23rd and was captured on the officer’s body worn camera. The video shows her claims of unethical behavior are false. It also shows her attempt to relate his behavior to a young, naive cop destined to be caught up in a crime ring is as fictional as the TV show she referenced in her post.
While the officer acknowledged he knew who she was, he explained she was still receiving the ticket because the intersection where she ran the stop sign was a location of concern for traffic violations. He also told her the ticket was not “pointable”, meaning her license would not be impacted by the ticket.
The reference to her knowing plenty of judges was not made as a suggestion that she participate in improper behavior as she claimed in her post. The comment was made as a reply to her direct question of “is it deferrable?” Meaning can she do the traffic ticket deferral program instead of paying the ticket. As a licensed attorney, she knows about the program and was asking if she could participate in it. The officer told her that because she did not have any previous traffic convictions, she would be able to participate and that she should talk to a judge about it. In her Facebook post, Mrs. Brinkerhoff-Riley failed to mention her question about the deferral program, thereby setting the stage for her false claim.
At no time did the officer imply or instruct her to improperly use her position as an attorney to get the ticket dismissed or “taken care of”. The officer was professional in his dealings with Mrs. Brinkerhoff-Riley. He was ethical in his handling of the situation and was concise in his explanation of the ticket and how she could proceed once the ticket was issued.
The body cam video will be posted in its entirety on the Evansville Police Department page and YouTube Channel for public viewing.