This is not some goofball skit with Joe B. Hall on the Terry Meiners show.
No, the irreverent WHAS DJ and Great Day Live! TV host decided to get a lawyer (a good one, Steve Pence) and fight a speeding ticket from a cop he ridiculed on the air.
Sources tell me that Officer Sam Cromity and his black Mustang have quite a reputation for pulling over speeders on the Watterson. And records show that Cromity, as far back as 2005, has been leading the LMPD stats in racking up overtime pay going to court to be a witness on arrests. He doubled his salary then.
But when he decided to pull over Meiners, and give him a ticket for going 75 in a 55 mph zone, he didn’t know he’d met someone who would create a public spectacle. In discussing the incident on the air, Meiners made reference to Cromity (not by name) and called him a mixture between Barney Fife and Black Bart, a notorious Wild West outlaw. Some charged Meiners was being racist, as Cromity is African-American.
“There was no racial intent involved,” Meiners told me today. “I did some commentary on it because I felt wronged. I knew my experience was completely preposterous.”
In fact, Meiners won his case in part because the dashboard arrest video showed that Cromity was talking on the phone while pulling Meiners over, and that he had no proof of Meiners’ speed. The jury wasted no time in declaring Meiners “not guilty”.
Meiners said he feels no ill will toward LMPD, and in fact mentioned he got an award from the LMPD at an event last year.
But a bigger question should be asked here about LMPD and how it can now allow Cromity to continue doing what he’s been doing. Meiners is surely not the first person to be pulled over and wrongly accused of speeding. Most people pay the ticket and chalk it up to bad luck. But the fact that Cromity was talking on his cell phone, on a personal call, while in pursuit of an alleged traffic violation Given the efforts by police to get the public to stay off phones while driving, it seems that Cromity should be the one getting some discipline.