COLUMBIA, S.C. — A suspended South Carolina state trooper threatened to use a Taser on Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Sam Montgomery during a traffic stop last week for speeding.
South Carolina Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. R.S. Salter shouted directions at Montgomery during the stop early Wednesday. The 6-foot-3, 262-pound lineman attempts to comply when Salter tells him if he can't follow the commands "the next thing you're going to get is the Taser.
Montgomery was arrested for going 89 mph on a 55 mph road in Laurens County. He was booked and spent the night in jail until getting released on $355 bond. He has a court date of July 16, according to the ticket issued by Salter.
Salter was suspended by the state Department of Public Safety on Thursday and his conduct during the stop is under investigation by the agency's Office of Professional Responsibility. Salter has been with the South Carolina Highway Patrol since 2000. The agency said Salter was within the law to make an arrest for a speeding violation in excess of 25 mph.
But a statement released Monday said "Salter's behavior during the traffic stop of Mr. Montgomery was not representative of professionalism displayed by our troopers and officers every day around the state." Montgomery said he was returning home to Greenwood when pulled over.
He played football for Greenwood High, then spent three seasons at LSU where he had 19 career sacks and helped the Tigers to the 2011 national championship game won by Alabama. Montgomery was selected by Houston in the third round of the 2013 draft. However, he was inactive for the Texans' first seven games and waived by the club last October. Oakland signed him to the practice squad in December. Montgomery signed with Cincinnati as a free agent in April.
Agency spokeswoman Sherri Iacobelli said in a statement the department expects troopers treat the public with courtesy and respect. When Montgomery's arrest was brought to the agency's attention, "we began a review of the traffic stop and self-initiated an internal investigation."
Salter's harsh tone changes after handcuffing Montgomery and moving him into the trooper car. Montgomery phones his mother with Salter's help and the two discuss what Montgomery might face because of his excessive speed.
When Montgomery tells the officer that he accepts responsibility and will pay whatever fine is asked, Salters counsels says it might be in the driver's best interest to come to traffic court and see if he can get the penalties — and potential points against his license — lessened. "And I will work with you on your ticket," Salter tells Montgomery.
"I'm pretty fair, any man comes to court, asks for help on a ticket, I'll do what I can." Montgomery says he was at fault for going too fast.
"Bad deal," he said. "Trying to get home. I'll take the lick. I was wrong."
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