A Toledo-area police officer has been placed on paid administrative leave after a videotape of a traffic stop he made went viral.
Officer Eric Hart, tagged “crazy cop” on the Internet, pulled Cassandra Meyers over for a license plate violation near her home. The situation quickly deteriorated, according to the video.
After a man identified as Meyers’ father-in-law, Aaron Tatkowski, intervened, Hart forced the two to lie in the street at gunpoint, along with Meyer’s 14-year-old son.
“He’s not in trouble, but to keep things aboveboard, we put him on administrative leave until an internal investigation is fully complete,” Washington Township Police Chief Christopher Kaiser told the Toledo Blade. “I’m not saying he did anything wrong, but we’re trying to show we’re not trying to sweep this under the rug or cover it up.”
Hart, who has worked part-time for the department for about two years, is being paid while on leave, Kaiser said.
It’s difficult to decipher who is saying what in the video, which does not capture any interaction that took place before the family was forced to lie in the street. Hart appears to be trying to subdue the family, with little cooperation.
According to the Blade, the police report said Hart stopped Meyers’ vehicle for having an “altered” license registration sticker. During the stop, Tatkowski, who was in another truck, stopped and got out, telling Hart, “I’m [expletive] sick of you cops. I’m [expletive] sick of you harassing people for no reason.”
Hart wrote in the report that he ordered Tatkowski to get back, but when the man refused, Hart pointed his stun gun at him.
Tatkowski was charged with misconduct at an emergency, obstructing official business and resisting arrest, the Blade reported. Meyers was charged with obstructing official business, tampering with evidence and fictitious plates and was issued a warrant for failing to pay a tax bill.