He only wanted police to make a report of vandalism, but instead an 81-year-old man was the one who wound up in handcuffs.
Now, the man's wife, who just ended a race for mayor in Manchester, is considering a lawsuit against the city she wanted to serve.
"I don't really know what their thoughts were. It's hard for me to say," Earl McWhorter said.
The story of a parking lot, the police department and 81-year-old McWhorter has the man's wife, Stella, furious.
"It's ridiculous. It's just the good ol' boys," Stella McWhorter said.
A lifelong resident, Stella McWhorter recently ran for mayor. But when someone scattered campaign signs across the parking lot of an empty store last month, Earl said he checked it out and found a police officer behind the building who didn't seem to care.
"And he said, 'why don't you just go down there and find out who pulled the signs up and come back up here and tell me, and I'll make a report,'" Earl McWhorter said. "So, I said, 'you're the one to do the investigating, not me.'"
Earl McWhorter pushed the issue, demanding a supervisor. But soon, the matter escalated.
"He said, 'when I arrest you, you don't have any damn rights.' I mean, he looked at me right straight in the eye. And I said, 'well, we'll see about that,'" Earl McWhorter said.
Police handcuffed the man and threatened a charge of disorderly conduct. The run-in even left the man's wrist bleeding as photographs from that night show.
Eventually, three Manchester police officers wound up in the parking lot over all of this. So, too, did Stella McWhorter, with her own set of questions and concerns.
"All he asked a man for was a report that the signs had been pulled up," Stella McWhorter said. "As upset as he was, I started crying, because I told him, 'you leave him alone, because he's going to have a heart attack.'"
Fortunately, another officer, who knew the couple, diffused the disagreement.
Officers eventually released Earl McWhorter, who later filed a report with the sheriff's department.
Now, weeks later and after the election, the couple said it was important to step forward for the sake of others who call Manchester home.
"We've got a lot of good policemen in this town. But we've got a lot of smart-alecks, too," Stella McWhorter said.
Incidentally, Manchester has a new police chief whose first day was Wednesday. He said he did not know about McWhorter's run-in with his officers until Channel 4 News told him about it.
After looking into the case briefly, the police chief said he believes his officers did the right thing.
Clearly, the McWhorters disagree, because they said they will consider a lawsuit.
Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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