A simple traffic stop quickly went south when the man stopped was found to have a concealed weapon. Had it not been for the man’s calm, cool demeanor, the incident could have ended badly.
Citrus County Sheriff’s Deputy Alan Cox stopped resident Joel Smith for an expired plate, according to the dash-cam video, according to NBC affiliate WJHG Channel 7 news. Smith stepped out of his van to present his driver’s license to the deputy. When Cox asked for Smith’s registration and proof of insurance, things got scary.
A firearm could be seen peeking from Smith’s back pocket as he turned to retrieve the requested documentation.
“Why do you carry a gun for?” Cox was seen asking, according to WJHG Channel 7 news.
Within seconds, Cox held Smith at gunpoint and screamed at him.
“Put your hands right up or I’ll shoot you in the [expletive] back,” Cox said.
While Cox clearly lost his cool, Smith remained calm and compliant.
“Get down on the [expletive] ground now,” Cox screamed.
Although Smith had a concealed carry permit, he was arrested and charged with carrying a prohibited weapon openly.
The case didn’t get very far after that. According to the local NBC affiliate:
When the case got to the courthouse, the state attorney declined to prosecute saying there was little chance a jury would convict.
Florida law was changed in 2011 to say the brief viewing of a gun in a non-threatening manner is not a crime. Unified Sportsmen say Smith’s case and another are proof Florida needs to do more.
There’s no question that patrol officers are at their most vulnerable while performing a traffic stop. Spotting Smith’s gun should have certainly elevated the deputy’s concern. But what transpired from that moment forward was nothing short of over-reaction.
Smith remained calm and non-threatening, and his back was to the deputy when the gun was seen.
The following is a video of the entire encounter. Please be advised that it contains strong language.
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