A Northern California police officer has been placed on leave after a video surfaced showing him pulling a gun on a man who was recording him on his cellphone.
Rohnert Park officials announced their decision Thursday to place the officer on administrative leave.
“The incident portrayed on the video is not a typical interaction between our public safety officers and the public,” the city said in a statement.
An independent, outside investigator will be hired to conduct a full investigation into the video involving an Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety officer and a resident “to ensure the greatest degree of impartiality and fairness,” city officials said.
“In evaluating any complaint against an officer, we need to be sure proper procedures are followed and the investigator will assist us in this regard,” the city said.
The video showing an officer pointing his gun toward the man has sparked public outrage, forcing the Public Safety Department to cancel a planned “Coffee with a Cop” gathering after police said several people intended to “cause a disturbance, potentially putting our community and citizens at risk.”
Don McComas said he was in front of his home and hooking his boat to a trailer when he saw the officer drive into his neighborhood. The officer, he said, made a few turns and stopped to face McComas. The officer did nothing but point at McComas and his home, McComas said.
McComas became concerned, so he pulled out his cellphone camera and started filming.
The video shows the officer stopping his police SUV and appearing to film McComas with a camera or cellphone.
On the video, McComas moves in closer to record the license plate number on the officer’s vehicle. The officer gets out of the SUV and tells McComas to take his hand out of his pocket.
McComas replies: “No sir, I’ve done nothing. I have done absolutely nothing. No.”
The officer removes his gun from his holster, speaks into his radio and says, “Seriously.”
McComas responds, “Put your gun down, really?”
The video shows McComas backing away as the officer moves the gun toward him.
McComas repeats he did nothing wrong and tells the officer not to touch him.
When McComas asks why the officer stepped out of his vehicle, the officer responds, “You’re taking a picture of me. I am taking a picture of you.” The officer then asked whether McComas was “some kind of a constitutionalist or crazy guy or something like that.”
“Why are you doing this?” the officer asks McComas, who responds, “Why are you sitting here with your gun on me? This is why I am doing this. To protect myself from you.”
McComas was not detained or arrested.
As the officer walks away, he tells McComas, “Go ahead, have a nice day and put it on YouTube. I don’t really care.”
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