Skip to Content

Suspension of officer not enough for woman at center of traffic stop controversy

EUREKA (WEEK) -- A Eureka woman is calling for the firing of two officers caught on tape making lewd remarks about her bodily appearance following a speeding traffic stop in March.

In dashcam video obtained by 25 News via a Freedom of Information Act request, Eureka Police Officer Andrew Burgess and a Woodford County Sheriff's Deputy can be heard making lewd comments about Hannah "May" Reliford.

Burgess: "She's got all the tattoos, and the piercings, the lip piercing, the nose piercing..."

Woodford Co. Deputy: "What about her p****?"

Burgess: "Yeah, I saved that for you, buddy."

A screenshot from dashcam footage of May Reliford's March 19 traffic stop.

A source with the Woodford County Sheriff's Office says that conversation happened on a private cell phone call after Reliford's traffic stop ended.

"It just really shook me up," May Reliford said. "I just started breathing really heavy. I was like crying, and I just got really worked up over it."

The traffic stop occurred after Reliford was clocked at nearly 40 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone in the early morning hours of March 19.

Dashcam video shows Burgess following Reliford Westbound on Reagan Drive before driving North toward the city center.

A map of Eureka, showing the locations of both the speeding violation and the traffic stop.

Reliford and her father Frank first obtained the footage through their own Freedom of Information Act request. At the time, they did not know the conversation had taken place, and they were mortified by what they heard.

"It just validated that this guy lacks some character that is necessary to be an effective law enforcement official," Frank Reliford said.

After reviewing the footage, the Reliford's met with Eureka Police and city officials. They believe Eureka took their concerns seriously and acted swiftly.

FOIA documents show Burgess was suspended for four days without pay and had previous suspension for misconduct on his record.

They also show Burgess was suspended for appearing to prolong the traffic stop because of Reliford's "sex and body-piercings" beyond what was "reasonably necessary."

Reliford believes both Burgess and the Woodford County Deputy should be fired.

"I don't think a four-day suspension with no pay is even close to a severe enough punishment for that," May Reliford said.

Frank Reliford describes himself as a backer of the blue. He says they aren't going after the system, but they are fighting for more accountability in law enforcement.

"It just makes you realize, the people you're supposed to trust... to protect you. They can act that way, and just get away with it," May Reliford said.

As for Woodford County, the Reliford's say they were told the situation was dealt with internally regarding the Woodford Deputy. However, no details on the discipline have been released publicly.

A source says the Woodford County Sheriff's Office does not condone the comments made by their Deputy and emphasized the comments were not representative of their office.

Woodford County has not released the name of their deputy.

The Eureka Police Department declined an interview request for this story, saying they "cannot provide comment on employee discipline matters."

Author Profile Photo

Alex Gaul

Alex Gaul joined WEEK 25 News and Heart of Illinois ABC in January 2021 as a Multimedia Journalist. He formerly worked for KPNX-TV and KAET-TV, both in Phoenix, Arizona. The Illinois-native is an alum of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

Skip to content