Washington, DC – A local elected official is in hot water because of his outrageous behavior during his drunk driving arrest, and offensive statements he made about police to the media afterwards.
Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski has released video in response (video below).
The incident began just after midnight on Tuesday in Oxon Hill, Md., when a Prince George’s County Police Department (PGCPD) officer noticed Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (ANC) Paul Trantham's vehicle "swerving from lane to lane," according to WJLA.
The officer pulled up beside Trantham at a stop light, and saw the driver appeared to be falling asleep, so he asked Trantham to pull over.
The police officer smelled alcohol, and asked Trantham if he had been drinking. Trantham said he’d had two Heinekens.
Trantham refused field sobriety tests, and started shouting at police when asked to get out of his car.
He yelled at police that he knew Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker. He also said that Baker was a certified private investigator.
When the officer asked Trantham if he would take a breath test, he said yes, and was transported to District IV police station, where officers said the situation became worse, according to court records.
At the police station, Trantham refused to take the breath test, and repeatedly cursed and used racially-charged language at the officers.
Police said Trantham called them "n***r" and "white cracker whacker."
Trantham "stood up and urinated on the floor in the station," while an officer was reading him his rights, according to court records.
Then he told officers they could clean it up, according to WJLA.
When police removed Trantham's handcuffs so he could use the bathroom, he locked the door and barricaded himself in, police said.
Trantham refused to come out despite repeated requests by officers, so police had to go inside the bathroom and forcibly remove him as he continued to resist.
PGCPD released a short video of officers talking to Grantham through the restroom door.
In the video, an officer can be heard saying, "Come on Mr. Trantham, you got to come out man.”
“Go get your supervisor, you punk,” Trantham responded.
Once Trantham was removed from the bathroom, and back in custody, he told police he was a D.C. public official who would have the officers fired.
“I think they are homosexual because what man would come in there and pull another man off he seat?” Trantham said to a reporter from WJLA.
When viewers reacted to that statement, Trantham tried to explain his actions to reporters in another interview.
"I apologize for making that statement, but if you were treated the way that I was treated within the last 24 hours, only God would only know what you would probably be thinking and saying out of your mouth,” he said
“They have defamed me as a man. What man has to come in a bathroom? I am in a police station, a locked down police station. What would make you come in and open that door – one is on one side, the other one is on the other side – and they both raise you off of the toilet,” Trantham said.
In response to Trantham’s accusations, Chief Stawinski released a statement that said Trantham was “belligerent throughout the incident.”
“Late this afternoon, Mr. Trantham made several accusations about the arresting officer and officers at the District IV station during an interview with a local TV outlet. During that interview, Mr. Trantham admitted to having consumed alcohol prior to driving, said he can’t recall whether he used racial slurs against our officers, and also accused officers of being ‘homosexual’ for coming into the bathroom,” the chief’s statement said.
He said he was releasing the video in keeping with his practice of providing facts to the public.
“Further, I found Mr. Trantham’s use of racial epithets during this incident and disparaging characterization of the gay and lesbian community in his public statement offensive,” Chief Stawinski said. “Based on the facts as I have them, I stand with and fully support the actions taken by the officers involved in this arrest and I commend them for their professional conduct in the face of inflammatory and hateful conduct.”
Trantham was charged with resisting arrest and received four traffic citations for unsafe lane change, failure to stop at a stop sign, driving under the influence, and driving while intoxicated.
He told WJLA he was going to sue the police for removing him from the bathroom, and questioned why only some video footage of his arrest had been released.
Police said they may release additional videos of the incident.
Trantham is an elected official from District Ward Eight.
Watch video of Trantham arguing with police from the bathroom below: