John Felton was driving to a birthday party at his mother's house with his brother in Dayton, Ohio on August 15 when he was pulled over by police officer after being tailed for two miles.
When he asked why he was being pulled over, the officer replied, "because you made direct eye contact," The Dayton Daily News reports.
Felton recorded his interaction with the officer. In the video, first broadcast on The David Pakman Show, Felton, who is black, asks why he's been pulled over and the officer, who is white, tells him that he did not turn on his turn signal soon enough before turning. After taking Felton's license and going back to his squad car, the officer returns and gives another reason for pulling Felton over.
Felton: No disrespect, I don't have nothing against police officers, but all the shit that's going on, that's some scary shit. To have a police officer just trail you..
Felton: And then you just pull me to re-, because you said I didn't signal? What? Do you know how it looks?
Felton: You drive without being in a cop car, right? You know how it is when a police pull you over. It's like "I'm not doing nothing, why is he? Every move I make, why is he making it? I'm not doing nothing." Because I have a Michigan plate? Other than that, why was you trailing me?
Officer: Because you made direct eye contact with me and held onto it while I was passing you on Salem.
After expressing incredulousness, the officer tells Felton that they can keep arguing and the officer can give Felton a citation and take it to court—or Felton can have his license back and have a safe day.
For close to a full day, Dayton Police Department had yet to make a formal statement on the matter, but has twice tweeted that Felton's video is being reviewed.
In a statement released late Friday afternoon, the Dayton Police Department said:
From August 14-16, Dayton Police Department along with Montgomery County Sheriff's Office and the Ohio State Highway Patrol conducted Safe Communities Through Aggressive Traffic Enforcement or (SCATE) an initiative that is aimed at decreasing OVI related fatalities and injuries in the city of Dayton. Traffic fatalities and injuries have increased significantly since 2014. Thirteen (13) have occurred in West Patrol Operations Division since January 2015, a 25% increase from the previous year. Additionally, gun crimes with injuries have increased by 73% since May 2015.
During this weekend, a Dayton Police Officer pulled John Felton over on August 15 for not signaling within 100 feet of a turn. During the stop the Officer additionally acknowledged that Mr. Felton made sustained direct eye contact prior to being stopped. The traffic infraction was verified by the video; however making direct eye contact with an officer is not a basis for a traffic stop.
The Dayton Police Department is a true partner in the community and enjoys a positive community-police relationship. The Dayton Police Department is in contact with Mr. Felton. He has agreed to a conversation with the officer, facilitated by the Dayton Mediation Center. This will allow Mr. Felton and the Officer to discuss the specifics of the incident.
[h/t Raw Story]
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