James Eades of Augusta is charged with obstruction of a police officer, stemming from an incident during Operation Thunder, but he says there is much more to the story than that.
Eades says that he and a friend were driving down Alexander Drive early Friday morning when they came to an Operation Thunder Checkpoint on River Watch Parkway. What happened during that stop lead to Eades getting arrested… and he says it's all because he didn't roll down his window all the way
“We saw what appeared to be an accident scene. A couple of police cars with blue lights, a car carrier and a couple of cars sitting around with no lights on,” says Eades.
James Eades says he pulled a u-turn to avoid what could be a traffic delay, but as it turns out, the police presence wasn't from a car accident, it was actually an Operation Thunder checkpoint. So when officers saw Eades turning around, they went after him.
“When he turned his blue lights on I immediately pulled over to the side of the road, put my window down about halfway,” says Eades.
Eades says the officer told him to roll down his window all the way. He says he didn't want to roll it down anymore than it already was, and that's when the officer told Eades he was obstructing his investigation.
“I think in this instance the guy didn't want to let the window down, didn't want to talk to the officer and didn't want to give him the information. So when you don't give the information you can be charged with obstruction on a traffic stop,” says Lt. Amelio Lamkin of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.
Eades says he was arrested and charged because he didn't roll a window down. He says he wasn't doing anything illegal, he was just protecting himself. But police say you have to cooperate with officers during traffic stops.
If you come to a road block, police say the best thing to do is to roll down your window all the way, put both of your hands on the steering wheel, and if you have to look inside of your glove box, make sure you let the officer know that before you do so.
Avoiding a road block is a big no-no and if you do so, you will be pulled over. Eades says Operation Thunder is nothing but an intimidation game in Richmond County.
“It's obviously to cite and arrest as many people as possible, and to raise as much revenue as possible,” says Eades.
But the Sheriff's Office says it's about safety
“Our overall goal is to lower the number of crashes, lower the number of injuries and lower the number of fatalities in Richmond County,” says Lamkin.
Eades says his bond was $1,300 and he says his court date is set for June 20th, where he will fight the charges.
As for the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, Operation Thunder will continue through May and as of right now, Lieutenant Lamkin says traffic fatalities are down 23%.