A fierce debate is raging online after a viral video showed a California police officer holding a man at gunpoint for more than nine minutes.
The incident occurred last Wednesday, south of San Jose, California, when the officer witnessed the car the man was in drive past him at 85 mph, according to the Campbell Police Department, the Washington Post reported.
The officer stopped the car and then approached the passenger side and asked for the driver to produce a driver’s license and other paperwork while he went back to his cruiser to write a citation.
That is when the passenger reached under his seat, prompting the officer to unholster his weapon and point it at him, according to the police.
“It is not clear why the passenger chose to reach under the seat since the officer was not requesting any other paperwork,” the department said in a statement, the Post reported. “Unfortunately, the passenger’s unexpected movement towards the bottom of the seat, caused the officer to perceive a threat and draw his handgun.”
The passenger disputed that account and said he was reaching for paperwork that the officer requested.
“We’re looking for the f—ing paperwork, bro. Oh my God,” the passenger exclaimed.
“I understand that,” the officer said. “Don’t move, all right?”
The passenger continued to get more agitated.
“Why are you still pointing that gun at me, bro?” the passenger yelled. “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 officer remained calm.
“I understand,” the officer replied as he asked the man to remain calm.
“No, you don’t understand,” the man yelled belligerently. “No, I’m not going to relax. Get the f—king gun off me.”
Campbell police said that the officer held the gun that long because he was waiting for backup to arrive.
“We understand that it is never a comfortable position to have a gun pointed at you, regardless of whether it is a police officer,” the department said. “Unfortunately, the length of time that the officer’s gun was drawn lasted much longer than normal based on his location.”
And, they said, the incident ended amicably.
“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,” Campbell police said. “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 apparently it wasn’t so amicable, as video of the incident was shared on Facebook on Saturday.
“CAMPBELL COP IS A B****!!!!!!!!!!” a man who claimed to be the passenger wrote in the caption. “(He) pulled out a gun cuz I reached for paperwork he asked for.”
The video has since gone viral and sparked a debate between those who believe the passenger should have been more cooperative and calm, and those who thought the officer mishandled the situation.
“Just do as the cop says and shut up,” Lola Vanderbosch wrote in response to the video.
“wtf “bro?” not officer, or sir – unbelievable – when you disrespect a police officer you deserve none yourself. “Bro” was doing his JOB, next time try sitting in your car with your hands clearly visible (as you were likely instructed to do & like most people who get pulled over do) and you won’t have to worry about a gun in your face. You are a complete idiot – you deserve every single response on this post confirming such,” Jl Lacey said.
“Dude, You just proved how disrespectful and stupid you are. Cops take bullets in the face all the time at traffic stops. Don’t have no more (kids.) You’re a danger to family. Not because you’re bad… but because you’re arrogant and stupid. You proved it. Nine minutes. Lucky your ass is alive. You should be thanking Jesus,” a user named Angelo Serio wrote.
“Passenger biggest baby ever, has probably never learned to shut his mouth. If passenger ever needs help, hope he does not call 911 let his BIG mouth handle the situation. Grow up!!!!” JoAnne Ryan added.
On the other end of the spectrum, some took the video, which has been viewed more than two million times, as a reason to lambaste police.
“This cop needs to resign and go fine a job that he can do without pointing a gun at someone. He is a gutless wonder with a gun and he would crap his pants without one no doubt. One big-assed coward is what I see holding a gun on an unarmed man,” David S. Smith wrote.
“How would this cop like a gun pointed at his family for 9 minutes? And then say it was resolved amicably? Cops are out of control in this country. Thugs with badges and guns!” Mary Joan Lena Romano added.
“Lawsuit time ….I see at least a million dollars,” Wil Santiago predicted.
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