Sheriff says Privilege at Play After Complaints About Speed Trap in Cornelius

CORNELIUS, N.C. – Sheriff Garry McFadden isn’t backing down after a speed trap caused controversy. “It has sparked more conversation, which we will welcome the conversations,” McFadden said Wednesday.

The speed operation drew criticism after neighbors claim the Sheriff targeted a wealthy neighborhood in Cornelius.

“15 Sheriff cars lined up right here. And they were pulling everybody over,” says witness Tony Zumbado.

Deputies set up along Jetton Road, giving out 23 tickets in two hours on a quiet Sunday morning in February.

“If you set up a trap, you know, and it’s obviously that’s what you’re doing, you know, I think there’s better things to do,” Zumbado says.

The Sheriff, who took office in December, defended his agency after being asked to go before town commissioners Monday night.

He also says he feels there’s a reason people are complaining.

“We all danced around it already. It’s about privilege. It’s about privilege. It’s an African-American Sheriff making differences in this city and county. I wasn’t welcomed here. I was brought here,” McFadden told commissioners.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, traffic enforcement isn’t anything new.

Chief Deputy Rodney Collins say the agency started targeted enforcement operations five or six years ago.

“They have a responsibility and a duty when they see unsafe driving, to act,” Collins says.

The Sheriff’s Office has conducted more than 20,000 traffic stops in the past four years. “We’ve always had a presence. But now we really have a presence,” Collins says.

McFadden says the Sheriff’s Office is like any other law enforcement agency, except they don’t respond to 911 calls.

And he says the targeted operations will continue. The next one is scheduled for Pineville.