Georgia House District 21 candidate Brian Laurens is denying allegations he tried to use his relationship with Holly Springs Mayor Tim Downing to throw out a traffic citation he received in November.
The issue came to light Tuesday evening during a debate sponsored by the Cherokee County Republican Party when candidate Scot Turner asked Laurens if he tried to use his "political influence for personal gain" by calling Downing during the incident.
Laurens received a citation on Nov. 4 for running a stop sign in a roundabout off Holly Commons Parkway.
One video (warning: the ending of this video contains language unsuitable for children) posted on the Facebook profile of Franklin Myrick, shows Holly Springs Police Officer Danny West pulling Laurens over after he ran a stop sign before entering into a roundabout in the neighborhood.
In the first video, which is a little less than 14 minutes long, the discussion starts around the 2 minute mark and six-minute gap ensues until Laurens is issued the citation.
In the video, West informed Laurens that he ran the stop sign, and Laurens told the officer "you're not supposed to stop" when entering a roundabout.
West countered Laurens' point by noting that he has to enforce traffic laws throughout the city and that if Laurens has an issue with the stop sign, he should take that issue up with the Holly Springs City Council.
Laurens proceeded to tell the officer he will call Holly Springs Mayor Tim Downing to take the stop signs down.
West subsequently issued Laurens the citation, and told Laurens he had a court date scheduled for Jan. 8.
In a later video posted by Myrick, Laurens continued the discussion with Officer West and Sgt. Brian Cain. Laurens told both officers that he planned to take all the stop signs down.
Sgt. Cain reminded Laurens that he could not personally remove stop signs as they were government property.
He also told Laurens that he would need to take his issue with the stop signs up with the city council and "not take your anger and frustration out on one of my officers."
"You have a court date for this very reason right here to explain your side of the story to the judge and not to come out and raise your voice and treat my officer the way with you treated him," he added. "That’s why you have a court date. We’re not going to argue with you about this any further."
Laurens, who said Turner's question about the incident is "quite an accusation," said he eventually paid the $140 fine "because there was a stop sign there."
He noted he only called Downing to ask why there were stop signs at the entrance of the roundabout.
He told the audience that Downing said the city had to place stop signs near the roundabout in order to complete the neighborhood.
Laurens said Downing characterized the stipulation as "government regulation," and the candidate proceeded to blast what he called "government regulation gone wild."
"The personal attacks in this race are unreal," he added.
When reached by phone Wednesday, Downing was tight lipped about his alleged conversation with Laurens.
"I don’t think it’s appropriate to inject myself into this race," he said, adding he has endorsed Turner in the race. "The video speaks for itself."