Man claims to have captured police harassment on cell phone

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Wendell Varner says after he picked up his son from school, his day was suddenly turned upside down by a North Charleston police officer. He took out his cell phone and started recording.

"Put the blue lights on us. I pulled over and he cited us for a seat belt violation," said Varner.

Varner says the seat belt violation turned out to be the least of his problems.

"He said I disrespected him by saying man instead of sir. I had already explained to him that I was local and he had my I.D. with my address on it."

The following is a transcript of what's heard on the cell phone camera:

"I'm from here man, this is a rental car," Varner tells the officer.

"Oh calm down, you said man, don't disrespect me," the officer replies.

"I wasn't disrespecting you. That's a term, c'mon now. "I'm sorry if I disrespected you," Varner replies.

"What I'm gonna do now is I'm gonna search your car, alright?" the officer tells Varner.

The officer then asks Varner what he is smoking.

"What are you smoking?" he says.

"I smoke Black and Milds," Varner replies.

"I'm gonna ask you one more time. Anything in the car I need to know about?" the officer asks Varner.

"No sir, there's nothing that you need to know about," he replies.

The video shows the officer searching Varner's car.

He finds nothing in it, but the cop is not finished.

"Take your shoes off," he tells Varner.

"I was terrified. I was thinking to myself this guy wants me to go to jail and he's going to try to make me go to jail," Varner said of the incident.

The officer finds nothing and lets Varner leave with a $25 ticket for the seat belt violation.

"I don't want to say for sure it was profiling . I don't know if it was a stereotyping because of my dreadlocks," Varner said.

Varner filed a complaint with the North Charleston mayor's office and with his city councilperson.

We contacted North Charleston Police for a comment, but have not heard back from them.

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