An elementary school teacher was arrested Monday after making a fake police report to cover for being late to work, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office reported.
Karter Dale-Erwin Clark, 25, allegedly claimed he had been pulled over around 9:30 a.m. Monday near Birchcrest Boulevard and Quesada Avenue in Port Charlotte by two black men in white vehicles with what appeared to be light bars in the windows, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
One subject was reportedly armed, and CCSO urged the public via social media and through other area police departments to use caution if the two were again observed.
However, later in the day, they determined the story was a ruse to cover for Clark’s tardiness.
Making a false report to law enforcement is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.
Charlotte County Schools spokesperson Mike Riley said Clark is a fourth-grade teacher at Neil Armstrong Elementary. He has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
“When law enforcement gets involved, we stand down until the legal process is done, and then we do our own investigation and decide what needs to take place,” he said.
Disciplinary action could range from a letter of reprimand in Clark’s file to a termination, depending on the outcome.
“It’s just disappointing,” Riley said. “So many people in society expect teachers to be held to a higher standard because they work with children. This is disappointing to know their teacher did something like this. It’s very disappointing.”
CCSO Public Information Officer Katie Heck said if anyone is pulled over by an unmarked vehicle and is concerned for their safety, they can call 911 to verify whether it’s a law enforcement officer.
While the Traffic Unit drives unmarked cars, the deputies are in full uniform, and law enforcement officer in plainclothes should still have a badge visible, or identification they will produce if asked.