By Scott Buttram
NBC 13’s Kalisha Whitman conducted an interview with The Basement youth evangelist Matt Pitt shortly before his arrest Tuesday night by Jefferson County deputies and Birmingham police. The television station aired one minute and 50 seconds of the interview on on the 10 p.m. newscast.
This morning, the station released 12:42 of raw footage of the interview with Pitt. You can view the video here.
In the raw footage, Pitt tells Whitman that he pleaded guilty to charges of impersonating a peace officer last year in Shelby County under pressure of threats directed at him and his family. At the time that Pitt entered his guilty plea in Shelby County, he also issued an apology to the Calera Police Department in open court, according to Greg Garrison of The Birmingham News.
In the video, Pitt said he became aware of the recent charges of impersonating an officer in Jefferson County after he returned from his anniversary trip. He didn’t indicate the date that he returned.
Pitt said he feels “sorry for (Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy) Randy Christian,” going on to say that Christian told The Trussville Tribune that “…we have never authorized Matt — ever authorized Matt — a badge or a photo ID and that’s what I went to court for. I even had to plead guilty. I had to plead guilty. I’m not guilty. I had to plead guilty. I didn’t have a lawyer show up.”
The Tribune has no record of Christian denying that an honorary badge had been presented to Pitt.
In the May 24, 2012, issue of The Trussville Tribune, Pitt’s arrest in Calera was reported with the following portion attributed to Christian.
“Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Randy Christian said last week that Pitt has never been on the office’s roster as a reserve deputy. Christian said Pitt would ‘absolutely not’ be authorized to identify himself as a deputy with the sheriff’s office or a law enforcement officer through the sheriff’s office.”
Last week, The Tribune reported that The Basement representatives had provided copies of an honorary Jefferson County Sheriff’s badge and a signed oath card presented to Pitt.
Christian said the honorary badge carries no authority.
“No authority whatsoever and after the initial arrest where he pled guilty, surely he had a good understanding of that,” Christian said. “There is no excuse for it to happen a second time. It’s sad and really hard to believe.”
Wednesday morning, Christian told The Tribune that he would let the video speak for itself.
“I will let your readers that see the rambling statement draw their own conclusions,” Christian said. “I’ve never seen a statement that speaks for itself so well. There is really nothing I can add other than it is very entertaining and very sad. I sincerely hope he gets the help that he needs. Even though he doesn’t know it or believe right now, there are many people very concerned about his bizzare behavior and the behavior of those that claim to care about him.”
The Tribune has made multiple requests for an interview with Pitt dating back to his initial arrest in 2012. To date, those requests have not been granted.