President Grant was arrested for speeding in his horse-drawn carriage
Although former President Donald Trump is expected to soon become the first US President to be indicted, former President Ulysses S. Grant was the first, and so far only, President to be arrested.
Grant was arrested in 1872 at the corner of 13th and M Streets NW in the nation’s capital for speeding in his horse-drawn carriage. Grant’s arrest was recounted years later by the arresting officer, William H. West, in a 1908 article for the Washington Evening Star headlined “Only cop who ever arrested a president”.
West, a black man who fought in the Civil War, was one of two black officers in the DC Police Department during Reconstruction.
“Gen. Grant was an ardent admirer of a good horse and liked nothing better than to sit behind a pair of spirited animals,” the Evening Star reported. “He was a good driver, and he sometimes ‘let them out’ to try their courage.”
West explained that he let Grant go after the first time he pulled him over for speeding, but ultimately pulled him over the next day after pulling him over again for the same infraction, according to the Washington Post.
“Police Officer West put his hand up for them to stop,” said the The evening star story told. “Grant was riding a pair of fast steppers and he struggled to stop them, but he managed to do just that.”
“Well, officer, what do you want from me?” Grant asked West.
“I want to inform you, Mr. President, that you are breaking the law by speeding down this street,” West reportedly replied. “Your rapid conduct, sir, has set an example for many other gentlemen.”
“The president apologized, promised it wouldn’t happen again, and galloped off,” according to the Washington Post.
However, West arrested Grant for the same infraction the following day. At the second stop, Grant had a “smile on his face” that made him look like “a schoolboy who had been caught in the act by a teacher”, according to the The evening star reports.
“Do you think, officer, that I violated the speed laws?” Grant asked West.
“Yes, Mr. President,” West replied.
West apologized to Grant before arresting him, but felt “duty is duty”.
“I’m so sorry, Mr. President, that I have to do this, because you’re the leader of the nation, and I’m nothing but a policeman,” West said. “But duty is duty, sir, and I’m going to have to arrest you.”
THE Job reported that “it is almost impossible” to know whether the Evening Star’s reporting is accurate, given that journalistic standards “weren’t as rigorous then as they are now”.
However, former DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier confirmed Grant’s arrest in 2012.
“He was actually racing his buggy down M Street… We seized his horse and his buggy,” Lanier said.
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Jordan Dixon-Hamilton is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter.