In another case of officials believing they are above the law, a local Florida politician was caught claiming he ran the county after being stopped by law enforcement for speeding. In a now-viral video, Flagler County Commission Chairman Joe Mullins can be seen stopped by police for speeding on June 19 in a red Ferrari. When questioned by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper, he claimed: “I run the county.”
According to the citation, Mullins was driving a 2013 Ferrari convertible sports car when he was pulled over for driving 92 miles per hour in a 70-mph zone.
While the publicly released audio is difficult to hear, Mullins can clearly be heard saying he runs the county after a trooper explained why he was pulled over.
“So, 92 miles an hour is 22 over the speed limit, okay?,” the officer explained. “Normally, I give warnings. I give breaks—but it looks like you've been written a warning already, so I do issue the citation. With that being said, it's gonna be payable within 30 days.”
Mullins said: “I run the county so I know how that works.”
In response, the trooper questioned what he heard, asking, “You run the county?” The trooper then reiterated that he needs to explain what was happening before telling Mullins his options for the citation.
The dashcam footage shows that Mullins quickly drove away once the trooper told him he was free to go.
Not only is what Mullins said problematic but, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal, this is the second time in two weeks that troopers have stopped 51-year-old Mullins for speeding.
According to the News-Journal, two troopers stopped Mullins on June 2. At that time he was ticketed for driving a different car at 89 mph in a 60-mph zone. That citation report noted that Mullins was not only “extremely condescending, belligerent, illogical and disrespectful,” but that he “flashed his business card to get out of ticket.”
Footage of that incident shows a trooper telling Mullins to stay in the vehicle and that he would be arrested for failure to obey a lawful order if he gets out.
The footage continues to show the troopers returning to a patrol car after speaking to Mullins. They have a conversation that goes as follows: “He said he was a county commissioner,” to which the other trooper replies, “Yeah, well, he’s getting a ticket.”
Mullins of course still objected, and dispatch notes from the department obtained by the News-Journal found that Mullins stressed that an arrest would be a “career ending move” for him.
Of course, despite that incident potentially being a career-ending move, Mullins did not learn. He continued to break the law and attempt to use his position to get out of the consequences.
After the June 19 incident, he wrote a letter to the county magistrate judge asking that no points be assessed on his license and his record “not be noted if possible.”
He said: “On Father’s Day while preparing for family to come into town and running behind in my work schedule rushing between meetings, I was pulled over on I-95 for speeding. I lost track of time and while taking calls and dealing with traffic knowing I was behind schedule, I was not paying attention to my speed nor the limit.”
Mullins was ordered by traffic hearing officer Thomas Pycraft to take a four-hour driver improvement course. Pycraft withheld adjudication on the traffic citation, which means no points would be assessed against Mullins' driving record.
Since Mullins was already asked to take a driver improvement course related to the June 2 incident, adjudication was withheld on June 30 against Mullins by the clerk, according to Seminole County Clerk of Court records, the News-Journal reported.
In separate letters to judges seeking leniency for both incidents, Mullins claimed he was in a rush and not paying attention to how fast he was driving, the newspaper reported.
“I am asking for lenience as I am gladly to pay in full the amount owed but would like the assessed points and my record not to be noted if possible,” Mullins wrote in a letter.
He added: “I commit in the future to pay more attention to my speed and be aware of my time so it will not put me in a rush situation.”
If Mullins really does know what's going on, he should know not to speed, and especially not to attempt using his position to get out of such violations.
Mullins, a Republican, is up for reelection of his commission seat in Flagler County. According to Flaglerlive.com, he prides himself on supporting law enforcement as a part of his campaign.