Local News

Sharpsburg Cop Resigns Over School-Bus Traffic Stop

Posted March 3, 2008 2:15 p.m. EST
Updated March 3, 2008 10:36 p.m. EST

— A Sharpsburg police officer who resigned over the weekend in the midst of controversy involving a school-bus traffic stop had no probable cause to pull over the bus, his former chief said Monday.

Police Chief Barry S. Bissette said an internal investigation found Officer Travis Parker did not follow proper procedure when he stopped the bus on Feb. 22. It was transporting students from Southern Nash High School.

Bissette said Parker pulled the bus over after a student made faces and an obscene gesture at him. Parker's intention was to remove the student from the bus and lecture him about respect and manners, Bissette said.

As he put the first student in the front seat of his patrol car, Parker said others on the bus started yelling and using profanity. He said he decided to go back on the bus and remove two other students.

Parker charged one of those students, Dessie Lewis, 18, with disturbing the peace. Bissette said Monday that charge would be dropped.

"I feel, personally, that Officer Parker had good intentions in mind," Bissette said.

Lewis and her brother, Derrick Lewis, 15, whom Parker also took off the bus, claim Parker stopped the bus for no reason, got on the bus and started bullying students.

"When the bus driver asked him what's going on, he just pointed to his gun and didn't say nothing," Dessie Lewis said.

Her father, Joe Lewis, said he was furious about what happened, adding that Parker was wrong to do what he did.

"You don't stop a bus and open the back door up and snatch no kid out of there," he said.

The bus driver also resigned, citing stress from the incident. Students on the bus were sent to talk with a school counselor about it.