Public records show a councilman in the City of Rincon has been using his official title to meddle in police activities in the community in which he serves.
Videos of police encounters show Councilman Levi Scott asserting his authority as a council member both as a motorist and on behalf of other motorists in incidents dating back several years and without regard for who is in leadership at the police department.
On several occasions, Scott has utilized his title to seemingly pressure law enforcement officers to change their behavior to cater to his own desired outcomes of traffic stops and other incidents in the City of Rincon..
TGV News recently obtained video footage from an incident in 2023 and one in June 2020, demonstrating an ongoing issue with the councilman.
June 2020 Incident for Suspected Drunk Driving
On June 13, 2020, Scott was pulled over by Officer Ian Gallagher of the Rincon Police Department on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Video obtained under the Open Records Act shows the officer behind Scott inside the city limits of Rincon. Between the dash camera footage and comments made in a supervisor video, it is revealed that Gallagher stopped Scott for failure to maintain lane and speeding. On video, Gallagher explains that he was concerned that the driver may have been impaired at the time, prompting the stop.
At some point during the stop with Gallagher and Scott, a supervisor was requested and arrived on scene to assist. Sergeant Hayes can be heard addressing Scott and is then seen extending his hand to shake Scott’s hand.
Scott tells Hayes that he has a young man there and ‘has some concerns because “he knows for a fact what he [Scott] was doing.” Scott then says if he hit the line, “we shouldn’t worry about that.”
“Did I hit the line? Yes, possibility [sic] I hit the line. I do it every day…if traffic’s clear, I’m driving, you know, I may hit that line. I cross that line, here, somewhere here, but if I hit that line, we shouldn’t run…worry, we shouldn’t worry…if they just hittin’ that line. Unless they’re excessive speeding and really hittin’ those lines…and crossing those lines. That’s something we gotta look at.. “I know I might’ve hit those lines cause I’m sitting there talkin’ to her…as far as speeding? Over 45? Never….I know you said you paced me at 45 [mph] but I never hit over 45 [mph].”
Scott continues, “I understand sometimes we have to have an excuse to stop people…”
At that point, Gallagher interjects that it ‘wasn’t an excuse.’ “My speedometer said 45, I was right behind you. You crossed twice, which is indicative of someone that’s impaired. I mean, I’m just doing what I’m supposed to do.”
“Okay, let’s check the calibrator on his car. Let’s check ‘em right here. Appreciate that. Alright.” Scott said.
Then Scott goes on to explain that there are issues and he recently met with the chief.
“We’ve got some issues going on here nwo, I met with the chief and them Monday, no, last Tuesday. We’re gonna be careful with how we pursue individuals. Because, I’m feelin’ something different now because it’s a calm night, it’s a slow night and I know where I just came from. I went up, come out of the Chevrolet place, went up, came back, I know what my speed was. I know it wasn’t excessive. Hit that line? Yes. Possibility I hit that line. I knew I hit that line at one time. But, let’s be careful. If this has happened to me and somebody else complains, there’s gonna be some issues. I know you’re new. But I wanna realize…I want you to understand you work for the public. Okay? Okay, we’re good. Have them checked please, come Monday.”
Scott then ends the traffic stop himself and goes to get into his vehicle. At that time, the body camera footage ends.
There is no report or other written documentation for this incident as no citations were issued.
You can watch the clips in the video below. Note: There is no sound on the dash camera of Officer Gallagher. Audio begins when Sergeant Hayes arrives on scene and his body camera turns on.
Meddling in Traffic Stop by the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office
Recently, Scott found himself in the middle of a traffic stop in progress by the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office because he was upset that the stop occurred in the parking lot of a friend’s business. That friend is also seeking elected office.
In that incident, on August 31, 2023, Scott is seen walking up on scene at a local business – Cuts by Eric, owned by Eric Hill, who is also running for city council – and approaching the vehicle of ECSO Deputy Handshumaker. A traffic stop, which took approximately ten minutes, has just concluded with another vehicle. Though law enforcement officers have no control over where motorists stop their vehicle, Scott appears out of nowhere and is heard complaining that the deputy stopped the vehicle in that location, prompting the deputy to exit his patrol vehicle and suggest Scott ‘do him a favor’ and go inside.
Radio traffic from the stop can be heard from inside the patrol car where the dash camera is located. Scott can be heard arguing with the deputy outside of the vehicle, though due to the music in the patrol car, much of it is inaudible. Deputy Handshumaker gets on the radio to advise of his status and says “We’re going to talk politics for a second.”
Another person is heard on the radio explaining that Scott is “upset he [the deputy] did a traffic stop here.” A second person indicates on the radio that Scott ‘is upset’ and advises that the deputy needs additional back up at the scene.
After a few minutes, two Rincon officers show up on scene to provide backup for the deputy, who continues to speak with Scott. Arguing can still be heard by Scott in the background of the audio well into the stop. After five minutes, the deputy and the officers return to their patrol vehicles and the encounter ends.
A Pattern of Behavior
According to preliminary information in Open Records Requests, neither the ECSO incident nor the June 2020 incident are isolated occurrences.
Pending records requests from both the city and Effingham County, which have not yet been fulfilled, indicate that Scott has attempted to intervene on a handful of occasions with Rincon PD when traffic stops occur near or at the Cuts by Eric barber shop.
Additionally, there was an incident in 2018 during which time a family member of Scott assaulted a Rincon Police Officer and Scott then instructed officers not to arrest the family member. The details of that request will be published once they are fully released.