Crime & Courts

Shakedown Street: Councilwoman Wants $2 Million For ‘False Arrest and Imprisonment’

Lowcountry leader hires lawyer-legislator to make her case for a taxpayer-funded windfall …

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When Bluffton, South Carolina city council member Bridgette Frazier was pulled over for speeding on March 9, 2024, the traffic stop resulted in her arrest for driving on a suspended license. Frazier said at the time she did not know her license was suspended – and her attorney claimed there were errors in her driving record. Subsequently, even though Frazier was clocked exceeding the speed limit by more than 20 miles an hour, the charges against her were dropped.

But Frazier – through lawyer/legislator Tiffany Spann-Wilder – is now demanding $2 million from the city of Bluffton to “quietly” settle what she claims is “false arrest and false imprisonment.”

News of Frazier’s attempted shakedown was first reported by Sebastian Lee of The (Hilton Head, S.C.) Island Packet.

Arresting officer Richard Ramirez of the Bluffton police department said he arrested Frazier based on her driving record – which purportedly included a history of unpaid traffic tickets as well as multiple suspensions.

According to court records obtained from Florida and South Carolina, the 40-year-old elected official has been cited for driving on a suspended license at least four times since 2006. 

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Bridgette Frazier (Bluffton, S.C.)

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Records from Palm Beach County, Florida detailed more than a dozen citations involving Frazier from 2005 to 2011. Most of the traffic violations involved speeding, failure to provide proof of insurance or failure to wear a seatbelt. Three of them involved driving without a valid license while one of them was for failure to present a valid license. 

In Beaufort County, S.C., court records revealed traffic violations against Frazier from 2004 to 2021. Most of the citations involve speeding or failure to wear a seatbelt. On December 10, 2012, Frazier was cited for driving without a license in her possession. A seatbelt violation on November 27, 2013 noted her status as NRVC – meaning “non-resident violator compact.”

The compact prevents people with suspended licenses in other states from renewing or obtaining a driver’s license in another compact state. 

Our review of the court records did not reveal any unpaid tickets, but it did reveal a number of late fines. 

In the demand letter presented to the city of Bluffton on June 25, 2024, Spann-Wilder stated that the issues noted in Frazier’s driving record had been resolved. 

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“Ms. Frazier’s driving privileges were not revoked, suspended or cancelled at the time of the arrest,” Spann-Wilder wrote in the letter. “To this end, the State of South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles also indicated that an error appeared upon Ms. Frazier’s driving record at the time of this false arrest.”

The city of Bluffton was given until the close of business on Monday to pay the $2 million, however subsequent reporting from Lee at the Island Packet would seem to indicate this deadline has been extended to allow Frazier’s colleagues on city council to discuss the issue.

FITSNews reached out to both Frazier and Spann-Wilder to get their take on the situation. Frazier declined to comment. We did not receive a response from Spann-Wilder prior to publication.

Count on FITSNews to follow this developing situation. Anyone with information is encouraged to reach out to callie@fitsnews.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Callie Lyons (provided)

Callie Lyons is a journalist, researcher and author. Her 2007 book ‘Stain-Resistant, Nonstick, Waterproof and Lethal’ was the first to cover forever chemicals and their impact on communities – a story later told in the movie ‘Dark Waters’. Her investigative work has been featured in media outlets, publications, and documentaries all over the world. Lyons also appears in ‘Citizen Sleuth’ – a 2023 documentary exploring the genre of true crime.

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2 comments

River Top fan July 9, 2024 at 3:36 pm

Another city council member not willing to accept responsibility.

Reply
Joni Aydlette Top fan July 10, 2024 at 10:33 am

Disgusting

Reply

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