SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Shelby County Courts say a local political leader didn’t pay the county $50.00, landing him in jail and before a judge.
Shelby County Democratic Party Chair Bryan Carson’s arrest has many debating if the arrest was fueled by politics, not the law.
WREG camera microphones didn’t clearly pick up the entire exchange between Shelby County Environmental Court Judge Larry Potter and Carson, but sitting feet away, we heard Judge Potter tell Carson, politics don’t play in his courtroom.
“That’s a private conversation. I’d rather not discuss it,” said Carson’s attorney, Robert Spence.
According to Shelby County Court records, Carson appeared before Potter Thursday because he didn’t show up for court after he ran a stop sign last year. That stop sign violation and failed court appearance resulted in a $136.00 fine, which Carson hadn’t paid for months.
Wednesday, Carson was arrested. Now he’s publicly questioning the timing of his arrest.
“I won’t say, you never know. It’s a traffic ticket. I’ve never heard of someone being locked up over a traffic ticket,” said Carson.
On Facebook, Carson posted a status claiming it’s ironic his arrest comes just days after the Shelby County Democratic Party announced their endorsements for the upcoming August election.
One of those endorsements is for Judge Larry Potter’s opponent in the General Session’s Judge Criminal Division 14 race. The Democratic Party is backing attorney Kim Gilmore-Sims over Potter, who has served as a Shelby County judge for more than 30 years.
During a sideline conversation at his bench, Potter called the allegations that Carson’s arrest is fired by politics offensive and embarrassing.
Potter also pointed out the bench warrant was issued for Carson’s arrest in April.
“It ended with an apology and a handshake, and it’s all over,” said Spence.