The social media posting Wednesday of a cell phone video showing a heated exchange between a man and a deputy during a traffic stop prompted Bulloch County Sheriff Noel Brown to post an explanatory comment on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.
In posting the video, Register resident Christopher Wayne Glover accuses Bulloch County Sheriff’s Capt. Rick Rountree of speeding and performing an improper traffic stop.
However, Brown said Rountree was on duty and legally stopped Glover.
Around 12:45 p.m. Wednesday, both Rountree and Glover were traveling south on Highway 301 South, with Rountree on duty, “checking on some property that was seized by a court order from a judge,” Brown said in a statement on Thursday.
Rountree was driving an unmarked Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office truck, Brown said.
According to an incident report, Rountree saw Glover, in a small white Kia, driving dangerously and seeming to intentionally block another vehicle from changing lanes.
“After the (other) vehicle was finally able to merge, Mr. Glover made two abrupt lane changes in a reckless manner,” Brown said. “Captain Rountree then merged into the right lane to prepare for an upcoming right turn. At this point Mr. Glover was in front of him and began waving his hands.”
Rountree then decided to stop Glover to address the dangerous and reckless driving, Brown said.
The deputy “activated his blue lights and both vehicles pulled into a parking lot.”
At this point, Glover, 31, began recording the incident. The cell phone video Glover posted on his Facebook page, which is public, shows Rountree approach Glover, while Glover is yelling and berating Rountree, accusing him of speeding and tailgating.
The video shows Glover demanding to know why he was stopped, but as Rountree appeared to try to respond, he is drowned out by Glover’s tirade.
When Rountree returned to his truck – a county-owned unmarked pickup equipped with blue lights in the grill, Glover got out of his car and followed.
Seeing Glover approach him, Rountree got back out of the truck, walked towards Glover (who was returning to his car) and asks for Glover’s driver’s license.
Glover refused, stating that Georgia law doesn’t require citizens to produce a license or ID on demand. “Georgia isn’t an ID state,” he is heard saying on the video.
However, in his Facebook statement, Brown points out that Georgia law, in fact, does require people to show an ID when asked by a law enforcement officer.
“Glover appeared to give Rountree little opportunity to explain why he had stopped him and continued to talk over Captain Rountree,” he said. “During this exchange Glover cursed at Captain Rountree multiple times. Mr. Glover refused to give Captain Rountree his driver’s license, which is a violation of Georgia law.”
Rountree started to call for backup, but changed his mind, deciding to leave to resume his business and allow the situation to calm down, according to Brown.
According to conversation overheard on the video and comments by Glover’s wife made on Facebook, Glover’s daughters, ages 2 and 3, were in Glover’s car at the time. During the video, Glover can be heard telling someone to “sit down.”
Glover’s account of what happened (before he began recording the incident with his cell phone) conflicts with what Rountree said happened, but the sheriff said Glover’s past record makes his claims questionable.
Other incident reports
Along with his statement on Facebook, Brown posted incident reports regarding two other “road rage” encounters, as Brown described them, Glover had with drivers last year.
“We feel the credibility of Mr. Glover is diminished by the fact he is the subject of two previous reports for similar road rage incidents involving other civilians. In both incidents the involvement of weapons were reported and in one incident Glover reportedly yelled a racist insult at the other driver,” Brown said.
Incident reports show Glover was involved in an altercation with a waste removal company driver in February 2018.
Glover reportedly yelled at the driver to slow down as he traveled on the road where he lives. When the truck driver stopped to see what Glover wanted, Glover approached him, yelling, and holding a pocket knife, according to the incident report. The two exchanged words, and the incident report states Glover reportedly shoved the driver and called him a racist name.
In spite of a witness corroborating the driver’s claims, Glover denied having a knife and said the truck driver, who was black, called him a “white racist.”
The witness and driver both said Glover stood in the roadway as the driver tried to leave the scene.
In July 2018, a man driving on a dirt road near the intersection of Hwy. 46 and Hwy. 301 South reported an altercation with Glover.
Reports state Glover stopped the man, yelled at him to slow down, and showed a gun. Then he reportedly followed the other driver for a while, tailgating him.
The video posted on Glover’s Facebook page received dozens of comments and was shared repeatedly on social media. Many people questioned Rountree’s authority in stopping Glover, as well as asked whether Rountree was on duty. Some asked whether he was driving a personal vehicle during the traffic stop.
In a second Facebook post, Brown addressed the questions.
“Unmarked vehicles are not customarily used for traffic stops but it is not against policy to do so," Brown said. “If that were the case, it may prevent a deputy from acting when he or she witnessed a violation or needed to apprehend a wanted person.”
The county-owned truck Rountree was driving had blue lights that are not easily seen unless activated, and had no dash camera, which is usually reserved for patrol vehicles that make such stops on a daily basis, Brown said.
Despite his allegedly breaking laws, Glover will not be cited after the fact, he said.
There was “some false impression that we charged Mr. Glover after he filed a complaint,” Brown said in his second statement: “Mr. Glover has not and will not be charged in this incident. The only time we charge people with a traffic violation after the fact would be if the person fled the scene, as a result of an accident investigation or if a crime was unknown at the time of the traffic stop.”
Rountree gave Glover a verbal warning instead of a citation, he said.
Several comments by people on Facebook were in protest of the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office making incident reports public, claiming it was a violation of Glover’s privacy.
“People have said that we published Mr. Glover’s criminal history,” Brown said. “We only published two reports where he exhibited similar behavior, not his criminal history. The reports were public release versions that are commonly sent out to the news media and released pursuant to the Georgia Open Records Act.”
If Glover (who did not return messages Thursday or Friday seeking comment on the incident) were to file an official complaint against Rountree, the claim would be reviewed by one of two other certified internal affairs investigators who do not report to Rountree, he said. Usually, Rountree would be an internal affairs investigator, as he is the BCSO captain of Professional Standards.
“If there was an allegation of serious criminal misconduct, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation would be requested.”
Obey the law
Brown said while Rountree may have made some “inappropriate comments” at the end of the heated exchange, he did not violate any policy regarding traffic stops.
After Glover refused to produce an ID, Rountree told him he would get his tag number and find out his identity. As Rountree left, Glover followed behind him.
Brown urges people to comply with law enforcement when stopped, even if they feel they are innocent of any crime.
“This is a safety issue, not a ‘who is right or who is wrong’ issue,” he said. “Yelling and cursing at a law enforcement officer only destabilizes the situation, and aggressively rushing towards a law enforcement officer’s vehicle is downright dangerous.”
Glover’s behavior and, what Brown described as obvious animosity towards the deputy was the wrong approach, he said.
“Glover appears to have a history of such confrontations.”
In his statement, Brown said he would not comment on any reprimands or disciplinary actions against any sheriff’s office personnel.
“Any policy violations will be dealt with.”
He also suggested Glover seek help with “anger issues.” Brown said Glover refused an invitation to meet with the sheriff to discuss the matter.
Neither Glover nor his wife responded to multiple efforts Thursday and Friday to reach them for comment. A telephone number listed for Dena Glover was no longer valid and there was no local listing for Christopher Glover.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.