An Arizona police chief met with an immigrant man who had been threatened less than 48 hours earlier by an officer during a traffic stop.
A 74-second video of the encounter was posted Saturday by an immigrant rights activist, reported the Latino Rebels blog, and the post was widely shared across social media.
Teodulo Sánchez began recording the video after he called his wife to report a suspicious car was following him Friday, and the man’s wife said a patrol car then began following him and turned on its lights.
An officer approached Sánchez’s car with his gun drawn, and he asked the man for his ID and whether he had any weapons.
“Show me the license right now,” said the Buckeye police officer in Spanish. “If you do something, I will kill you right here. Do you understand me?”
Sánchez said he understood, and he informed the officer he was recording the encounter.
The officer demanded to know whether Sánchez had any weapons, and he assured the officer he was on his way to work and had only tools in the car.
“OK, don’t get out of the car,” the officer said. “Stay there. If you move, I will shoot you right here. Do you understand me?”
Chief Larry Hall, of Buckeye police, met Monday with Sánchez, his wife, and son to discuss the video.
“They told us that they were very sorry about what happened,” said his wife, Diana Durán. “They promised to investigate into the matter. Those types of officers shouldn’t be allowed to be on the job.”
Sánchez agreed to turn over the full video, which is 12 minutes long and begins before he stopped for the patrol car, to the chief for investigation.
“I (recorded) it so people could see what happens,” Sánchez told Buzzfeed. “They’re killing too many people in America for nothing these days. If you look Mexican, they’ll stop you.”
The police department said in a news release that officers “received reliable information” from another agency about a gold, four-door Honda suspected in a drug distribution case – and that’s what Sánchez was driving.
Police also saw Sánchez’s car closely followed by a pickup truck, which raised the officer’s suspicions.
The pickup was stopped by other officers, police said, and the driver was found to be armed.
Police said the car’s driver was also believed to be armed, and they said the officer stopped Sánchez for an unspecified traffic violation.
The news release indicates Sánchez “did not comply with the officer’s requests,” although he was not charged with any crimes.
However, police said in the release that the department “does not condone the statement made during the stop.”
The officer’s name has not been released.
The release reported that Sánchez was “currently out on bond pending an immigration status hearing, and does have a criminal history.”
But his wife said Sánchez had met every requirement so far in his immigration case, and she said he had legal status.
Buzzfeed reported that Sánchez, who has two children ages 10 and 5 who are U.S. citizens, had unsuccessfully attempted to gain legal status through his father, who is also a legal U.S. citizen.
He is now in deportation proceedings, the website reported.
Watch video from the encounter posted online by Erika Andiola: