California police are facing backlash for a recent video that showed an officer pointing a gun at a passenger for nearly 10 minutes, during a traffic stop.
Last Wednesday, a California police officer stopped a car that passed him going 85 mph on U.S. Route 101, south of San Jose. Upon the traffic stop, the officer asked for driver’s license and registration, just before going to his motorcycle to write the speeding ticket.
According to the police officer, the passenger then began to reach “under his seat,” prompting the officer to draw his gun.
“It is not clear why the passenger chose to reach under the seat since the officer was not requesting any other paperwork,” Campbell police said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the passenger’s unexpected movement towards the bottom of the seat causes the officer to perceive a threat and draw his handgun.
However, the passenger and target of the officer’s firearm told a different story.
The man sitting in the passenger seat of the speeding car said he was just reaching for paperwork that the officer originally requested. In a video recorded by a female passenger in the vehicle, the man can be heard questioning the officer’s actions.
“Wow,” the passenger said. “We’re looking for the f*cking paperwork, bro. Oh my God,” he said, as the office pointed the gun towards him for nearly 10 minutes. “Why are you still pointing that gun at me, bro?” he asked. “Why are you still pointing the gun at me, though? Record this sh*t. Why are you still pointing the gun at me, bro? My hands are right here,” the passenger said as his hands remained on his lap.
“I understand,” the officer responded.
The passengers in the car continue to question the officer’s actions, wondering if it was still necessary for him to have his gun drawn. Which he responded, saying it was indeed necessary until backup arrived. As time passed, the officer radioed in and mentioned that there had been a screwdriver on the floor of the vehicle.
“Why are you trying to make this bigger than it is, bro?” the passenger questioned. “We complied with everything you asked for.”
Following the incident, officials said that the officer had to wait longer than usual for backup, which is why he had his gun pointed at the passenger for an extended period of time. However, the department revealed that the traffic stop had been resolved amicably.
“We understand that it is never a comfortable position to have a gun pointed at you, regardless of whether it is a police officer,” the department said. “Unfortunately, the length of time that the officer’s gun was drawn lasted much longer than normal based on his location.”
“In the end, the officer had a conversation with the passenger of the vehicle explaining his actions and why the gun was pointed at him,” police revealed. “The passenger indicated he understood why it happened and actually apologized to the officer. Both the driver and the passenger were issued citations and were allowed to leave.”
However, several days later, the video appeared on Facebook, prompting widespread backlash for the police’s actions. In turn, the Campbell police department released an additional statement in response to the video.
“As an agency, we can understand the response to the Facebook video, and that is why we have and will continue engaging our community,” the department said. “The comments on the Facebook video bring up a lot of different viewpoints about how the officer could have responded differently or used different tactics. Our officers receive a tremendous amount of training on a consistent basis and that training is what dictates our response. This is intended to protect our officers as well as those they come in contact with.”
“We are thankful that this incident resolved itself with no one getting injured and hope that this additional information provides clarification,” the police said.