When Sam Montgomery was a Houston Texan, he always seemed like a really nice guy. He just never seemed all that motivated, up to and including his release from the team after a somewhat mysterious incident involving a quasi-tobacco product at the team hotel in Kansas City last season.
Certainly, there was nothing fast about Montgomery's Texan tenure (except for maybe the length of time it took to end). So it's a tad ironic that Montgomery, now a Cincinnati Bengal, was arrested early last Wednesday morning for going 89 MPH in a 55 MPH zone back in his home state of South Carolina.
Now, that's fast.
We all saw this story, we all cracked our jokes. Jokes about Montgomery, jokes about how he's "fitting in perfectly on the Bengals," long a police blotter punch line of a franchise.
Now comes the video footage of the traffic stop and it's interesting, to say the least.
It appears from the footage that Montgomery was indeed speeding, and speeding pretty significantly. If you're more than 25 MPH over the speed limit, that's enough to be arrested in South Carolina, and Montgomery was certainly exceeding the posted speed limit by a sizable margin.
However, the trooper on the scene, a pudgy little Napoleon identified as L. Cpl. R.S. Salter, was definitely overzealous to the point of unprofessionalism in pulling over and apprehending Montgomery. Courtesy of Fox Carolina, here's the report of the traffic stop:
According to Laurens County jail officials, Sidney Sam Montgomery, 24, was charged with speeding by the Highway Patrol.
Montgomery was stopped on Highway 72 three miles west of Clinton at 12:37 a.m. on Thursday going 89 mph in a 55 mph zone, according to Cpl. Bill Rhyne with the Highway Patrol.
Rhyne said the trooper used his discretion to arrest Montgomery, which is allowed under South Carolina laws for speeding.
The trooper, who was identified as L. Cpl. R.S. Salter, was suspended following the incident.
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety issued the following statement:
The department holds its troopers to the highest standard of conduct and expects them to treat the public with courtesy and respect. Once this matter was brought to our attention, we began a review of the traffic stop and self-initiated an internal investigation. While Trooper Salter was within the law to make an arrest for the speeding violation in excess of 25 mph, Salter's behavior during the traffic stop of Mr. Montgomery was not representative of the professionalism displayed by our troopers and officers every day around the state.
Here are the videos of the news report on the incident and the raw footage of the traffic stop itself:
A few observations on both the news report as well as the extensive footage of the traffic stop:
1. I'm no police officer, so I don't know what the police manual says about pulling guys over and what the proper protocol is, but it's probably not a great look when the conversation goes like this:
OFFICER: You military?
OFFICER: (interrupting) All right, OUT OF THE CAR...LET'S GO....
I don't know, Salter seemed a tad too excited to be hauling in an NFL player.
2. Also, the threat of tasing a cooperative suspect who is having a hard time keeping up with rapid-fire, ambiguous instructions is probably a little over the top, as well. Again, maybe it's me. I'm no cop.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
3. We interviewed Sam Montgomery on my radio show a few months ago when he signed with the Bengals, and he was one of the nicest football players we've ever talked to. If anything, this video footage reinforces that perception. Sam Montgomery is by far the nicest person that I've ever seen rudely harassed and badgered into an arrest. Totally pleasant and cooperative. Amazing.
4. Why is Salter's wife doing all the talking for him? And more important, can someone let her know that they've invented new female haircuts since 1991?
It's been quite a first 14 months since for Sam Montgomery since leaving LSU. Here's hoping that things turn around for him in Cincinnati.