The department maintains the officer had to wait for backup before lowering his weapon.
A viral Facebook video showing a California cop holding an unarmed passenger at gunpoint for nearly 10-minutes during a traffic stop is garnering outrage from the community, but defense from the Campbell Police department.
The officer, who remains unidentified, pulled the vehicle over on July 28 for speeding. But while searching for registration documents, something went horribly wrong. According to the Washington Post, accounts from the driver — who recorded the incident — the passenger and the officer diverge, but the camera shows the tense moments after the cop pulled out his weapon and trained it on the passenger.
“Why are you still pointing that gun at me, bro? 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 can be heard saying.
“I understand,” the officer responds.
“No, you don’t understand," the passenger said.
According to the police department, the male passenger began to reach under his seat while the driver was looking for her license and registration, prompting the officer draw his weapon.
“Unfortunately, the passenger’s unexpected movement toward the bottom of the seat caused the officer to perceive a threat and draw his handgun,” Campbell Police Capt. Gary Berg said.
The officer insisted on training the gun on the passenger, citing the need for backup to arrive before he could lower his weapon.
Police insist that the traffic stop was resolved, defending the officer's actions and adding that the passenger apologized for the misunderstanding.
From the Post:
“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. 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.”
But the passenger, identified as "Feo Mas" on Facebook, uploaded the video to the social media platform with the caption: "CAMPBELL COP IS A B—-!!!!!!!!!! (He) pulled out a gun cuz I reached for paperwork he asked for.”
The department says they are aware of the video and the response to it, but claim the officer's body camera footage provides additional context. The police officer involved in the incident has yet to be identified.