If allegations against Person County North Carolina District Attorney Joel Brewer are true, Brewer's not content to be a prosecutor. He wants to be a cop as well, complete with a badge and a fast car.
An unnamed female citizen interviewed by [a State Bureau of Investigation agent named] Meyers told him that she was stopped one day in the past five months “by a man driving a dark-colored Corvette, who flashed a gold/bronze badge and who represented himself as a law enforcement officer.
“The man wanted to know if [the female] wanted a citation or a warning ticket for illegally passing him,” Meyers wrote. “When [the female] protested that she had not passed the man, he then wanted to know if she wanted a citation or a warning ticket for following too close.
Supposedly Brewer carried a badge at all times, labeled "District Attorney". DAs in North Carolina are not authorized to carry badges, nor to issue traffic citations. Perhaps the badge came from a box of Cracker Jacks, or maybe cereal. By law, Brewer has no more authority to arrest his fellow citizens than Cap'n Crunch.
“When [the female] challenged the man, he got back into the Corvette and left,” Meyers continued. “[The female] obtained the Corvette’s license number and it was determined the Corvette was registered [to Brewer].”
A separate unnamed citizen, who Meyers wrote was familiar with the workings of Brewer’s office and has known the former district attorney for “a number of years,” reportedly saw “Brewer stop a motorist by use of the badge. …The motorist was stopped because District Attorney Brewer thought the motorist had committed some traffic violation.”
But that's just petty abuse of power, all in a day's work for a cop, even an imaginary cop. It's the political corruption that makes this story.
Meyers wrote that, according to an unnamed citizen, who was also familiar with the workings of the district attorney’s office, “Brewer would routinely dismiss minor citations and traffic charges for people and then save the pink copy of the citations, which District Attorney Brewer has kept in a manila file folder in his office.”
According to the citizen, Brewer “has referred to the manila file folder, called some of those for whom he has dismissed charges, reminded them of what he did, and asked them for their vote and/or for their help with working the polls.”
So the allegation is that Brewer would dismiss criminal charges in hopes of getting votes and political support. That's just good politics, all well and good for the people of Person County. They get out of paying a fine, and in return all they have to do is stand outside a voting station every four years wearing a "Brewer for District Attorney" shirt, or something like that.
Pity about non-residents who get stopped for driving 10 over the limit. They have to pay the fine and the added insurance premium.
But maybe it isn't the political corruption that makes this story. Maybe it's the creepy overtone of, well, you decide:
Meyers added that the citizen “heard District Attorney Brewer agree to dismiss a charge for a female, while asking for the female’s phone numbers, which he then wrote on the pink copy of the citation.”
No doubt Brewer wanted the lady's phone number so that he could thank her for her political support. Or give her a ride in his Corvette. Or something.
But maybe it isn't the creepiness that makes this story. Perhaps it's the double standard, and the hypocrisy.
[Judge Gary] Trawick ruled Monday that the search warrant and a portion of Meyers’ affidavit be made public after Brewer, through his team of attorneys, had sought to keep the information sealed.
Two paragraphs from Meyers’ affidavit were redacted as ordered by Trawick before the search warrant information was unsealed and filed Tuesday afternoon.
Those two paragraphs, according to Yanceyville attorney George Daniel, one of three lawyers representing Brewer, contain information that “could very well be prejudicial, detrimental and inflammatory.”
Trawick said during Monday’s hearing, the redacted information “could ruin a man’s reputation.”
Considering what has been made public, it's hard to see how Brewer's reputation could be hurt further. But riddle me this: When is the last time a District Attorney moved to seal an affidavit or search warrant on the ground that it could ruin a suspect's reputation, when the suspect was not the District Attorney?
I'll wait while you look that up.