A group of African-American young men were stopped in their car by police in Boynton Beach, Fla., last year, but a video of the incident only recently surfaced.
After the driver and all the passengers were asked for I.D., one passenger told the officer that he was going to "start recording this s---," while a passenger in the back of the car filmed (video below) the incident, noted PhotographyIsNotaCrime.com.
"Yeah, start recording it," says a police officer. "Cut that phone off right now."
"No, I have rights," replies the black passenger. "No, I have rights. Sir, I'm recording your a--."
After the officer walks away to call for back up, the black passenger, says, "B---, you on camera, what the f-- is wrong with you. Stupid a--, cracker."
The cop walks to the car's driver side where the driver asks his name. The police officer responds by knocking a cell phone out of the driver's hand.
The police officer then tells the driver several times to "get out of the car," and throws him on some nearby grass to handcuff him, but doesn't say why.
A second police car quickly drives up, the officer jumps out of his car and points his gun at the unarmed passengers and threatens, “I’ll f----, I'll put a round in your a-- so quick.”
In response to the incident, Boynton Beach Police Chief Jeffrey Katz left a long statement on the YouTube page where the video was posted, which said in part:
I've seen this video before - probably about a year ago. It continues to surface despite the fact nobody has made a complaint or provided helpful information from which we could put this incident in context or take corrective action if applicable. Despite this fact, my staff and I did an exhaustive search of our records in order to try to identify this incident, which occurred on February 4, 2013. What we learned is:
• The persons within this car were within a 2 mile perimeter officers established in response to a violent home invasion robbery in which the suspects were armed with a machete (BBPD Case number 13-5715).
• The persons within the vehicle were – as you can see on the video – less than cooperative and, in some cases antagonistic toward the officers.
• The driver reached out of his window with a black object in his hand. The sergeant immediately felt threatened by this gesture and took actions to protect himself and others on the scene.
People these days seem to like to draw strong and definitive conclusions based upon clips of video and information.
When I watch this video, I don’t see a car full of young men who are behaving in a manner consistent with fear of the police. These young men are escalating this incident, being uncooperative with officers who are investigating a violent crime, and recording their interaction – presumably with the hopes of catching a “gotcha” moment on the part of our personnel.
I hate to disappoint them, but no gotcha moment exists here…which is why I suspect nobody ever came forward to make a complaint about this. Rest assured, absent a complaint we still looked into this incident and found the officers’ actions to be appropriate and justifiable given the totality of the circumstances. 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... Facts are a stubborn thing.
Speaking of facts, Chief Katz did not mention why the young men should "fear the police" or why they could not exercise their right (supported by federal courts and the U.S. Department of Justice) to record the incident.
Chief Katz also didn't mention why one of his officers threatened to shoot a car full of unarmed passengers.
Chief Katz failed to mention that when his police officer refused to provide his name, the driver held up his cell phone in broad daylight to record the officer's name tag. That's when the officer knocked the cell phone out of the driver's hand, pulled him out of the car and threw him on the grass.
Chief Katz also didn't specify the "probable cause" for his police having pulled the men over in the first place.