Dashboard cameras can help police officers gather evidence against suspects during a traffic stop. They can also vindicate the suspect when the footage disproves the officers’ claims. Cameras can also catch the police using excessive force, as happened in a recent Michigan incident.
A dashboard cam captured the scene. A Michigan State Police trooper is seen pulling a gun on an 18-year-old motorist and heard saying things to the young woman that sickened the county prosecutor. The woman was pulled over for allegedly speeding. She had heard that her home was being robbed and was apparently trying to reach the house.
The trooper later claimed that the he pursued the woman for a mile before she pulled over, which he called “extraordinarily unusual.” He said he pulled his gun on the woman because he believed the woman was going to try to run, so he needed to “intercept” the woman “should they flee on foot.”
By “intercepting” the suspected speeder, the trooper apparently meant pulling his gun out immediately after exiting the vehicle and pointing it at the woman until he was inches from her face, then ordering her out of the car and putting handcuffs on her. He ended up issuing her a ticket, asking her “How did you like having a gun pointed at [you]?” before letting her go.
The trooper will not face criminal charges, despite the prosecutor condemnation of his actions that day. Hopefully, it will not become standard practice in the Michigan State Police to threaten to shoot motorists for appearing to be “about” to run away from a traffic stop.
Source: KTRH-TV, “Michigan State Trooper Way Overreacts After He Pulled An 18-Year-Old Girl Over For Speeding,” Michael Berry, May 21, 2014