WASHINGTON - A D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner is speaking out after he was arrested following a traffic stop in Prince George's County in Maryland early Tuesday morning.
Police say Paul Trantham, an elected leader from Ward 8 in the District, was pulled over shortly after midnight on Indian Head Highway in Oxon Hill. They say Trantham's car was swerving on the roadway, leading to the stop. Trantham refused a field sobriety test and he was taken into custody by police.
After Trantham was brought into the police station, officers say he locked himself in a bathroom and refused to come out. Police released video of a portion of the incident where an officer can be heard asking Trantham, "Come on Mr. Trantham, you got to come out man." Trantham responds by saying, "Go get your supervisor, you punk."
Police say Trantham also cursed out the officers and used racial slurs.
On Tuesday, the ANC commissioner publicly accused the officers of being homosexual for coming into the bathroom. He addressed his actions against the officers during the incident in the bathroom on Tuesday.
"I apologize for making that statement, but if you were treated the way that I was treated within the last 24 hours, only God would only know what you would probably be thinking and saying out of your mouth," he said. "They have defamed me as a man. What man has to come in a bathroom? I am in a police station, a locked down police station. What would make you come in and open that door - one is on one side, the other one is on the other side - and they both raise you off of the toilet."
Trantham also claims the officers did not give him a field sobriety test and just put him into handcuffs.
Trantham was charged with resisting arrest and also received four traffic citations that include unsafe lane change, failure to stop at a stop sign, driving under the influence and driving while intoxicated.
Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said in a statement:
"As part of our ongoing effort to increase highway safety on MD 210, Prince George's County Police officers were on patrol at approximately 12:22 AM when they encountered and subsequently arrested Mr. Paul Trantham.
"In a public statement this afternoon concerning his arrest on December 19th, Mr. Paul Trantham made a number of comments to include that he did not refuse to come out of a bathroom while in police custody. I expect that these comments will cause concern in our community. As a result, I have taken the opportunity to review both the statement of probable cause and the video footage that I am releasing. This action is in keeping with my practice of providing facts to the public when I have them.
"Further, I found Mr. Trantham's use of racial epithets during this incident and disparaging characterization of the gay and lesbian community in his public statement offensive. Based on the facts as I have them, I stand with and fully support the actions taken by the officers involved in this arrest and I commend them for their professional conduct in the face of inflammatory and hateful conduct."
Police are reviewing the case.