Wichita A state legislator from Wichita stopped for speeding has tried at least three times to use her position to get out of traffic tickets, videos of the encounters show.
During one stop in January 2010, Oletha Faust-Goudeau asked a state trooper not to ticket her for speeding, at one point saying, “I’m asking you as a state senator,” The Wichita Eagle reported Wednesday.
The nearly 18-minute recording of the exchange between the legislator and state Trooper Beau Wallace was captured by the trooper’s in-car camera and his belt microphone and was obtained by the newspaper through an open records request.
After the trooper told her he was citing her for driving 84 mph in a 70 mph zone, Faust-Goudeau, who is black, asked the trooper if the stop was racial profiling. The trooper replied, “No, ma’am.”
Faust-Goudeau said in a statement Tuesday that it is within the discretion of a police officer whether to issue a ticket or warning.
“I never intended to use my position to influence the decision made by the officer,” she said.
The newspaper also reported last month on two other traffic stops for speeding, in February 2011 and October 2009. Those videos showed the lawmaker was not given a ticket after identifying herself as a state senator and telling officers that she knew the Wichita police chief and other Wichita city officials.
Court records show Faust-Goudeau pleaded no contest and paid a $140 fine for the 2010 turnpike traffic stop.
In the video, the trooper told her she clocked her going 84 mph in a 70 mph zone near the service area north of Emporia. She said she couldn’t have reached that speed.
After he asked for her driver’s information, she told him early in the stop, “I’m a state senator, and I just left Topeka, and let me find everything that you need, honey.”
She also told the trooper that she had just left the Legislature and that she had just been with Gov. Mark Parkinson.
Later, after Wallace explained how he checked her speed, she said, “I’m asking you this: If you would just give me a warning today. Um, I’m asking you as a state senator.”
Then she asked for immunity because it was during the legislative session.
The trooper replied, “I can’t delay you, but you’re not immune to getting a citation for speeding.”
She tried again later to avoid a ticket, showing the trooper a Wichita Police Department “challenge coin” and saying, “So the chief of police has given me that. You’re going to override that and not have mercy on me at all,” she said, laughing.
This marked the second time she was recorded while trying to use a challenge coin during a traffic stop.
During the October 2009 stop, she had also shown a Wichita police officer a Wichita police challenge coin and said that Police Chief Norman Williams gave it to her and told her to “use it” if she had to.
Williams has said he gave Faust-Goudeau a police challenge coin several years ago, but that as with other people, he gave the coin only as a goodwill gesture, not as a get-out-of-trouble pass.