North Carolina cops pull gun on former college basketball star and then ask him for autographs
A former college basketball standout said North Carolina police drew a gun on him during a traffic stop and then asked him for an autograph.
Nolan Smith, a former Duke University guard was back in Durham to participate in a fantasy camp, posted a series of tweets about the Wednesday night incident.
“The encounter I had with the police tonight … Guns drawn, yelling, no questions asked. … Smh. … What’s really going on?” Smith posted shortly before 1 a.m. Thursday.
“Yes I have 4% Tint. … But I rolled the windows down right away. … And showed them I was harmless. They didn’t care. Guns were out. … Wow,” he posted several minutes later.
“Soon as they relaxed and asked questions. … They became fans,” posted Smith, who is black. “Chill you not getting a autograph now, you just pulled a gun on me. Smh.”
Soon as they relaxed and asked questions.. They became fans… Chill you not getting a autograph now, you just pulled a gun on me. Smh
— Nolan Smith (@NdotSmitty) May 28, 2015
Police said they stopped Smith at 11:23 p.m. after trailing him for several blocks in his Chevrolet Tahoe because the windows were tinted.
The police report shows two officers approached the vehicle, one on the driver’s side and the other on the passenger side, and one of them unholstered his weapon because he could not see through the tinted windows into the back of the vehicle.
Officers issued Smith, who spent last season playing in the NBA’s D-League, a warning ticket for a tint violation.
A police department spokesman who identified himself only as “Anderson” told The Sporting News that the officers probably had a reason to justify pulling a gun, although he wasn’t sure why they actually did.
“It could have been a similar car whose description matched one of a bank robbery or a shooting,” the spokesman said. “It could have been the actions and behavior of the driver.”
“Tempers flare, and if the case went to court, an officer would need to be able to justify why he did that, but that’s why police officers have body cameras and the cameras in the car,” he added.
Durham police officers do not currently have body cameras, but the department held a “listening forum” two weeks ago to discuss the possibility of buying them.
The spokesman said pulling guns during a traffic stop was “normal behavior,” but he referred questions about whether autograph requests were permitted to the department’s community services officer, who did not respond to requests for comment.