CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The tipster whose video led to the paid suspension of a Charlotte-based Secret Service agent spoke exclusively to NewsChannel 36 Thursday afternoon.
“YouTube” video shot by the man, who declined to be publicly identified, showed a black Dodge Charger driving aggressively south on Interstate 77 and the I-485 outer belt.
The man who shot the video is a small businessman who used his cell phone camera to record the episode.
“He was driving very recklessly,” he said.
The cell phone video covered a significant span of time and distance. During that time, the Dodge Charger hit speeds of over 85 miles per hour, and the car appeared to tailgate and then move in front of a SUV before the agent slammed on the car’s brakes.
Just prior to the I-485 ramp off of I-77 south, blue flashing lights appeared from inside the Charger, and the SUV pulled over to a shoulder. The Charger then sped off.
The man recording the incident followed the black car to a south Charlotte neighborhood near Old Ardrey Kell Road and West Providence Road before abandoning the chase.
We asked the man who took the cell phone video if he realized he was breaking the law. He said yes, but pointed out “I certainly didn't brake check anybody. I don't think I’ve ever done anything like that in my entire life. I wasn't cutting in and out of traffic.”
The I-Team approached our viewers, and the North Carolina Department of Justice, trying to identify the driver.
Late Thursday, the Charlotte office of the Secret Service admitted to NewsChannel 36 that the car was one of their own. It was being driven by an agent based here, in a field office across from SouthPark Mall.
"It's one thing for me to go out and speed," said the man who shot the video. “And I should be admonished for it. I should get a speeding ticket for it. It's another thing for a law enforcement officer to abuse his power and his tools, his lights and his car to harass citizens.”
The Secret Service placed the special agent on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
Without the I-Team's appeal to the State Department of Justice, our tipster felt like the video alone would not have gotten any action.
“No, I think it would have just been buried. It would have sat on YouTube.”
If you have a problem that needs to be investigated, let the I-Team know about it. Email the firstname.lastname@example.org or call 704-329-3743.