ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News has learned that one of the newer members of the Georgia General Assembly was facing a criminal charge when he took office.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Richard Belcher dug into the case, which began with a DUI stop on a college campus
State Rep. Matthew Gurtler wasn't driving 3 ½ years ago when the incident occurred; he was a passenger. But because of his persistent resistance to police commands, which included twice telling officers that he worked for a state representative, Gurtler was jailed for obstruction.
The charge wasn't dropped until last month after he was elected to the state representative position.
The Rabun County Republican is in his first term.
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His arrest happened in 2013 on the campus of North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega.
Gurtler ended up in the Lumpkin County Jail.
A friend was charged with DUI, but Gurtler himself wasn't in trouble until he got out of the car and started arguing with police.
“Listen to me, honey. Listen to me, honey. If you refuse to follow my instructions, then for our safety, I’m going to put you in handcuffs,” the officer could be heard saying on body camera video.
Gurtler wanted her to know where he worked.
"I'm in politics. I work over at the House of Representatives, and this is not [inaudible] to me,” Gurtler told the officer.
“Kimmel! I'm fixing to put him in handcuffs,” the officer yelled to her partner.
“Ok, do it then. I'm [going to get] a lawsuit on your a** right now. I'm serious, this is [inaudible]," Gurtler said.
“I'm serious, too,” the officer said.
On the video, Gurtler's friend joined the officers telling him to get in the car.
“Just have a seat, dude. Sit down. Sit down,” the friend told Gurtler.
Finally, the handcuffs went on.
“Are you detaining me?" Gurtler asked the officer.
“Yes, I am,” the officer said.
“Am I free to go?” Gurtler asked the officer.
“Nope,” the officer said.
Then came one more reminder from the future state legislator that he had an important boss.
“I work for a state representative, and I don't understand what you guys are... You're going to have a lawsuit on your hands. I would like your badge number. Both of y'all,” Gurtler said.
The arresting officers wrote a memo, calling Gurtler hostile and noting that he said he would have one officer's job.
“Some of the things you said sounded like you were trying to throw some weight around. ‘Do you know I work for a state representative?’ You said that twice,” Belcher asked Gurtler Wednesday at the state Capitol.
“I've already given you my statement, but thank you,” Gurtler responded.
“Think you misbehaved?” Belcher asked.
“Alright, thank you,” Gurtler said.
In his written statement, Gurtler said the district attorney dropped the charge after Gurtler demanded a jury trial.
Records showed the DA dropped the charge after the newly elected legislator completed pre-trial diversion and paid the Lumpkin County court $250.
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