Bell ticket request refused, Hill won't ask

By Justin Boron

Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill said he will not ask for a speeding ticket to be issued to Deputy Paco Perez, who was stopped for driving Hill 22 mph over the posted limit and subsequently let go by the county police without citation.

The decision comes on the heels of County Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell's request that a ticket be issued to Special Services Director Chris Windley, who was clocked by Hampton police over two weeks ago while he was driving Bell at 29 mph over the posted limit.

Hill's car was stopped the morning of Feb. 5, and Perez was given a verbal warning, Clayton County Officer Jimmy Cofield said in his report.

Bell's driver, Windley, was given a break by Hampton Police Officer Shannon Brady, who said he did not know Bell was in the car at the time.

Both Hill and Bell said their subordinates should be held to the same standards as every other citizen.

But Hill said he and his deputy didn't benefit from a double standard.

"I've stopped plenty of civilians . . . and let them go," Hill said.

If Hill did ask for the ticket to be written, Clayton County Police Capt. Jeff Turner said it would be left to the reporting officer's discretion.

Bell, a former chief of the Atlanta Police Department, said he asked for the ticket to remedy the impression that he condones selective enforcement and special treatment for government officials.

"We are not above the law," he said.

Hampton Police Chief Bud Smith continues to stand behind his officer's decision and said he would not issue a ticket to Windley.

But some in the city believe the ticket that would have resulted in a $315 fine should have been written, City Council member Arley Lowe said.

"When you start not to enforce laws unilaterally across the board, you're asking for trouble," he said. "Selective enforcement is wrong, and that's what we're engaging in."

Lowe said he planned to address the issue on the council because he is worried about the instructions coming from the police department's head.

"That's not giving us much protection from speeders," he said.