Atlantic Beach, S.C. police chief Randy Rizzo said he drank "too many beers," and that led to his arrest Wednesday morning by Horry County police outside a pool hall.
Rizzo, 39, of Conway, is charged with public disorderly/public intoxication and later the same day was suspended from his job without pay, according to Town Manager William Booker.
"That officer had every right to charge me," said Rizzo, leader of Atlantic Beach's four-person police department. "I'm guilty. I'm not going to deny the fact. I'll pay like anyone else."
Rizzo was arrested soon after an officer, Scott Calderwood, saw Rizzo drive his truck in a parking lot. Rizzo said he told the officer he was moving his vehicle to a safer place and had called his wife to pick him up, but argued with another officer leading to his arrest.
"I was trying to be a good Samaritan and not do anything illegal," Rizzo said. "Unfortunately, the officer got upset with me."
The arrest is one in a series involving high-ranking officials from the small town in recent years, including four arrests of Mayor Retha Pierce in the last two years.
Rizzo was released from J. Reuben Long Detention Center after he paid bail of $262.
Booker said he spoke with Rizzo Wednesday before suspending him.
"He told me he was guilty of having too much to drink," Booker said. "He said he was guilty. People here are pretty disappointed this happened."
"I would expect Booker to make the right decision," Atlantic Beach Town Councilman Donnell Thompson said after learning about the arrest.
Rizzo is suspended at least through the weekend.
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