Police chief defends cop in video threatening to ‘put a round in your ass’ during traffic stop
Police in Florida are defending officers who pulled a gun on a driver and threw him to the ground in a videotaped traffic stop.
The cell phone video recorded by a back seat passenger during the Feb. 4, 2013 arrest has been viewed more than 46,000 times since it was posted last month.
It shows a Boynton Beach police officer telling four men in the car, all of whom are black, that he needs to see their identification and then ordering the passenger to turn off his cell phone.
The passenger refuses, saying, “I have rights, sir. I am recording this sh*t.”
Another passenger asks the officer for his name, but he ignores the request and orders the occupants out of the car.
When the driver sticks his own cell phone out the window and attempts to photograph the officer’s badge number, the officer drags him from the car and throws him to the ground.
The driver does not struggle with the officer as he’s placed in cuffs, and another officer rushes to the car with his handgun drawn.
The officer orders the three men inside the car to place their hands in front of them, and he tells the front seat passenger to place his hands on the dashboard or he will “put a round in your ass so quick.”
The officer then opens the rear driver’s side door, orders the men to put their hands “on the thing,” and the video stops.
An arrest report shows that officers were in the area searching for suspects in a nearby armed robbery, and police said they stopped the car because it was driving slowly and the people inside appeared to be trying to hide.
The arrest report states the car had a strong odor of marijuana and the driver was uncooperative during questioning.
Boynton Beach Police Chief Jeffrey Katz posted a lengthy comment in response to the YouTube video, saying he had first seen it about a year ago but none of the men had filed a complaint or provided any further details about the incident.
Katz said the officer felt threatened when the driver “reached out of his window with a black object in his hand.”
The chief said the men escalated the incident by refusing to cooperate and attempting to catch a “gotcha” moment by recording their interaction with police.
“People these days seem to like to draw strong and definitive conclusions based upon clips of video and information,” Katz said. “That’s not how this complex world works, folks. The driver and occupants of a vehicle have far more to do with the outcome of a traffic stop than does the initiating officer.”
Instead of “attempting to use this video to stoke racial tension and fear,” he suggested concerned citizens report perceived police misconduct, participate in citizen’s police academies, and make an appointment to meet with him personally to discuss their concerns.