Video from Boynton Beach, Florida, shows police pulling out their weapons on four men during a traffic stop earlier this year.
Another officer draws his gun and points it at the man in the passenger's seat, demanding him to put his hands on the dashboard, or, "I'll put a round in your ass so quick.”
The footage, shot by one of the backseat passengers, shows an officer asking for identification after receiving a report that there were armed robbery suspects in the area. The men don't cooperate with the officer's demands, and one passenger announces, "I have rights, sir. I am recording this shit.” From that point, backup officers arrive on the scene and the first officer moves from the passengers' side of the vehicle to the driver's side. The officer ignores a passenger's request for his name, and the driver sticks his cell phone out of the window. The officer grabs and tosses the phone and pulls open the car door, throwing the driver to the ground and placing him in handcuffs.
Another officer draws his gun and points it at the man in the passenger's seat, demanding him to put his hands on the dashboard, or, "I'll put a round in your ass so quick.” The same officer opens the door of the passenger who's recording and tells him to put his hands on "the thing" and the video ends.
Though the video is months old, Boynton Beach Police Chief Katz left a lengthy comment on the video's YouTube page yesterday that defended the officers. “People these days seem to like to draw strong and definitive conclusions based upon clips of video and information,” he says. “That’s not how this complex world works, folks. The driver and occupants of a vehicle have far more to do with the outcome of a traffic stop than does the initiating officer. Respect begets respect. Antagonism and hostility are met with defensiveness and it escalates the officers’ stress response.”
He says that the officer initially pulled the men over because they were driving slowly and it appeared they were hiding, which made him think they were potential suspects in the robbery. Katz adds that the officer who drags the driver from the vehicle felt threatened by the "black object" in his hand, referring to the driver's cell phone. Then, alluding to race-related events in the news such as the shooting in Ferguson, Katz says, "To those who are attempting to use this video to stoke racial tension and fear – I’d encourage you to work toward a solution and engage productive behaviors."
The owner of the video only wrote a brief comment under the "About" section on the YouTube page. "This is how i got treated by Boynton beach police department," they write. "Officer pulls gun out and threatens to shoot...always record u have the right to do so."