Polk sheriff’s office responds to negative Facebook video

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Charlotte man is now facing charges in Polk County after his wife posted a negative video on Facebook of a traffic stop along Hwy. 74.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says there’s more than 20 minutes of video people on Facebook haven’t seen that tells the rest of the story about officers stopping a family on their way to Disney World.

The family was on their way to the Asheville Airport, and were pulled over by Polk County Deputy Brian Atkins. The Facebook video was posted on Feb. 3.

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Atkins pulled the vehicle over for following too closely and failure to maintain lane control, according to sheriff reports.

In the vehicle were Christoper Hill, his wife and five-year old daughter. Hill told Atkins the stop was going to make them late for their flight to Disney World.

According to sheriff reports, after a K9 hit on the vehicle, officers found marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The Facebook video did not show the discovery of any drugs, but the patrol car’s dash cam video, which was almost 28 minutes long showed the K9 hitting on the vehicle and officers pulling the marijuana and paraphernalia out of the vehicle. The drugs were found in a suitcase.

Polk County Sheriff Donald Hill said the video on Facebook was liked and shared thousands of times and shed a negative light on the sheriff’s office, when in reality the Facebook post was full of lies and the officer let the driver off on a warning because he wanted the child to be able to make it to Disney World.

In the Facebook video the family became agitated, with Christopher Hill saying he had rights and couldn’t be detained, asking what crime he had committed.

Atkins responded that Hill does have rights, “but I have the right to run a K9 on this vehicle,” according to the video.

The sheriff’s office dash cam video shows Atkins wishing the family a safe trip after letting them off with a warning.

Charges have been filed against Christopher Hill for the drugs and paraphernalia discovered in the vehicle. Officers can choose to file charges at a later date, according to the sheriff’s office. Possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia are both misdemeanors.

The sheriff’s office also said while it bothers officers when negative posts are made online, they welcome the public to video any traffic stops in Polk County as long as they obey officer commands and taking a video does not interfere with the officer’s duties.

After seeing a news report about the incident that aired on Tuesday, Feb. 10, Christopher Hill called the sheriff’s office asking if there were warrants for his arrest. The sheriff’s office answered there are warrants out for his arrest. According to the sheriff’s office, Christopher Hill planned to stop by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday, Feb. 12 to turn himself in.