Video taken during a traffic stop in California shows an officer drawing his gun at the passenger and holding them at gunpoint for more than nine minutes.
The incident took place last Wednesday along U.S. Route 101, south of San Jose. According to the Campbell Police Department, the officer pulled over the vehicle said to be going 85 mph.
After the officer requested the driver’s license and additional paperwork, he walked back to his motorcycle to write a citation. According to police, the passenger began reaching “under his seat.”
“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, caused the officer to perceive a threat and draw his handgun.”
The man sitting in the vehicle’s passenger seat states that he had simply been reaching for some papers on the floor to try to find the vehicle’s license and registration, as requested.
The video lasts a little more than nine minutes, and the officer’s gun is pointed at the male passenger the entire time.
“We understand that it is never a comfortable position to have a gun pointed at you, regardless of whether it is a police officer,” police said. “Unfortunately, the length of time that the officer’s gun was drawn lasted much longer than normal based on his location.”
Police said the traffic stop was resolved amicably.
“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. 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, the Campbell police department is receiving backlash after the video surfaced on Facebook.
“CAMPBELL COP IS A B—-!!!!!!!!!!” wrote a Facebook user named “Feo Mas” who identified himself as the passenger in the video. “(He) pulled out a gun cuz I reached for paperwork he asked for.”
The Campbell Police Department said in a statement:
“As an agency, we can understand the response to the Facebook video, and that is why we have and will continue engaging our community,” police 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,”