A viral video — that’s amassed nearly 2 million views on Facebook — showing a police officer pointing a gun at a man that he pulled over for speeding has set off a deluge of criticism and support for the officer’s behavior.
The standoff began after a motorcycle officer pulled over a man speeding on U.S Route 101 near San Jose, CA. Clocked going 85 mph, the driver pulled over and searched for her paperwork to show the officer.
After several minutes, the woman who was driving the car and recorded the incident produced the documents. When the officer returned with her ticket, according to the Cambell Police’s version of events, a male passenger began reaching under his seat. At that moment the officer, perceiving the passenger’s movement as searching for a gun, drew his weapon.
Three people who were in the car — the driver, the passenger, and a third in the back — dispute the police department’s story. According to The Washington Post, both the driver and the recorded passenger contend that they were looking for paperwork and a ticket had not been written when the officer drew his gun.
“We’re looking for the fucking paperwork, bro. Oh my God,” the passenger explained at the beginning of the video.
Throughout the video, the passenger can be heard asking why the officer’s gun is still aimed at him if his hands are visible. “Why are you still pointing the gun at me, bro?” the passenger questioned. “My hands are right here.”
The driver also pointed out that his hands are visible. “Is that really necessary? His hands are both out,” she asked.
The officer remained in place, gun drawn, for around nine minutes as he waited for backup.
Campbell Police Department Captain Gary Berg said in a statement that body cam defends the officer’s actions. “We are in a position to provide the context because we have reviewed the officer’s body-worn camera, which recorded the encounter in its entirety,” Berg said.
According to Berg’s version of events, the woman who was driving wasn’t immediately able to produce her registration or proof of insurance. Moments before the now viral video began, the passenger reached below his seat searching for her documents. “Unfortunately, the passenger’s unexpected movement toward the bottom of the seat caused the officer to perceive a threat and draw his handgun,” Berg’s statement continued.
Berg’s statement also acknowledged that “it is never a comfortable position to have a gun pointed at you” and asserted the incident concluded amicably. The officer apparently explained “why the gun was pointed at him” and the passenger said he understood. According to Berg’s statement, the driver “actually apologized.”
Facebook commenters were not as forgiving. Most comments centered on whether the officer should have trained his gun on the passenger or simply asked him to step out of the car.“Policing in America must change,” one person wrote.
Another concluded, “So this is a good cop? Clearly not doing his job properly.”
Feo Mas, a man who claimed to be the passenger and posted the video, wrote in his caption: “CAMPBELL COP IS A BITCH!!!!!!!!!!”
So maybe he didn’t apologize after all?
Here’s the full video: