Sean Seelinger of VanderbiltHustler.com is reporting that a Vanderbilt University campus officer officer was fired due to "the perception of preferential treatment" when he stopped Robert Ritchie, known as Kid Rock, in Nashville, Tennessee last Wednesday morning (Feb. 16),said Pat Cunningham, captain of operations for VUPD, during a news conference.
The officer, Juan Monarez, a 13-year veteran, requested the rock star's autograph during the traffic stop which resulted in a warning, said Michael Schoenfeld, vice chancellor of public affairs.
A two-seat late-model Corvette was seen accelerating quickly with squealing tires while turning from Grand Avenue on to 21st Avenue S. at 3:30 a.m., Schoenfeld said.
When Monarez approached the car, he smelled an odor of alcohol, Cunningham said. Monarez questioned Kid Rock, who said that he had not been drinking and that the odor in the car was coming from the two other occupants.
Cunningham said that Monarez considered the explanation sufficient and failed to administer a sobriety test.
He added that there was no way of knowing whether Kid Rock would have passed a test had it been administered.
When word of the autograph surfaced, Monarez admitted his actions, Cunningham said. "We are very disappointed in the events that occurred," said Al Guyet, chief of VUPD. "We apologize to the community for the perception of non-enforcement of a DUI."
According to a Thursday article in The Tennessean, Kid Rock was wanted by Metro Police after assaulting a DJ at Christie's Cabaret. He was arrested at 7 a.m. Wednesday in a friend's apartment and later released on $3,000 bail. Metro Police noted Kid Rock's cooperation during the arrest.
Upon leaving jail Wednesday, Kid Rock told reporters that he was evading police so that he could become sober prior to being arrested.
Kid Rock was in Nashville to attend the funeral of country artist-manager Merle Kilgore.