Home News Officer in Tennessee fired after pulling over state senator’s daughter, muting microphone

Officer in Tennessee fired after pulling over state senator’s daughter, muting microphone

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A police officer in The Volunteer State is out of a job after he was filmed speaking his mind about his department’s window-tint citation policy in front of a state senator’s daughter and urging her to call her politician father.

Bristol Police Officer Phil Kiersnowski pulled over State Senator Jon Lundberg’s daughter last month for driving with too much tint on her vehicle windows and issued her a citation, albeit begrudgingly.

“I am going to give you a citation, because that’s only because the admin’s on our a**,” Kiersnowski said, his recording device capturing the entire incident on audio and video. “One phone call from your dad will probably save us a lot of heartache.”

Writing up the citation, Kiersnowski explained that the department was told to write the woman a ticket if they caught her driving with her taboo tint-job.

“We all said if we find you driving we’re going to write you a ticket,” he said. “We all know your window tint is too dark.”

Enter Senator Lundberg, who -unknown to Kiersnowski- was listening to the entire traffic stop on speakerphone, having just dealt with his wife receiving a ticket earlier that day for speeding.

“At the time, I thought it was actually kind of funny,” the state senator said. “Since I have a personal relationship with the chief I called him and I was truly laughing and said, ‘Hey chief, I’m on my way back from Nashville, I’m about an hour away, if you’re targeting my entire family, I’ll be there,’” he recalled. “He said, ‘We’re not targeting your family.’”

Now, Lundberg wishes he had never made the call. The next day, he was at the police department, reviewing chest camera footage and measuring window tint.

“He was at his desk and literally he said, ‘There’s the officer’s badge on my desk, he has been relieved of duty and he’ll be fired within 24 hours,’” Sen. Lundberg recalled. “My reaction is, ‘Fired for what?’”

According to BPD memos obtained by WKRN, it is documented that Kiersnowski “attempted to disable his audio which could be evidence and is also part of the official records of the police department,” thus making him officially “insubordinate with his attempt to persuade someone to take action to change police department policy that he does not agree with.”

While Lundberg things the officer could have handled it differently, he doesn’t think Kiersnowski should have been fired and has since hired a lawyer on his behalf.

“My wife has been in tears over this,” he said. “My daughter has been in tears. She thinks she’s at fault for this. Should he have said, ‘Hey, one call and this could go away?’ No, he shouldn’t have. Should he have covered up his microphone? No, clearly, but all of those are I think teachable moments.”

Kiersnowski feels that while he did mess up, the punishment was rather harsh.

“I never expected to be terminated over it,” he said. “I think (the chief) was embarrassed in front of Sen. Lundberg and I was punished for it.”

Despite an attempt to appeal the termination, the city has upheld their decision.

“He was doing his job and he didn’t want to do that job clearly and he still did it,” Lundberg said. “That’s why he deserves to be back.”

Lundberg’s daughter has since removed the tint from her car and will likely have the ticket dismissed as a result.

 

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