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Old June 15, 2014, 08:07 PM   #1
sentiency
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My arrest video involving officer who didn't identify himself

This happened over 4 years ago and I'm just now over the stress/panic attacks from the situation to post a video and discuss it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYD2aRNh-bk

I honestly thought I was being carjacked...he never identified himself, he turned his blue lights off RIGHT before he got there, and busted out my window and stuck his gun/flashlight in my face. I had no way of knowing it was an officer since with the flashlight, all I could see was a gun in my face after my window was broken out. I thought my car was being stolen, so I got out of the car and stood there, put my hands up, and followed all instructions including to get on the ground (holstered handgun was still in the car on my passenger seat at that time when I was out of the car). Then I take two taser barbs in my back while I'm flat on the ground...ended up hospitalized 3 days later with kidney problems due to the taser. Was charged with a felony and a misdemeanor. At the jail, I asked for medical attention but was denied.

I have a CCW and had my holstered handgun with me. This took place in my car, 10 feet in front of my apartment after I had walked to the car to get some homework/study papers late at night for my graduate school work.

We tried getting them to take action against the officer for not identifying himself, but they don't have an internal affairs department. Their investigator who looked into the issue was their general counsel attorney who would also have been the one to defend the department if they had been sued. Naturally, they took no action and said the officer was completely justified. They never reviewed the video tape; they only read the officers report, of which contained the first line: "I identified myself as a _____ county sheriff deputy and..."

To answer a few questions up-front:

1) A neighbor saw me carry the holstered gun to my car and called the police. It is perfectly legal in the state this happened to carry a firearm to and from your place of residence or your business and your vehicle. Again, this took place in my car 10 feet in front of my apartment

2) You can see in the video that I was moving around if you watch closely before the officer approaches. I was getting ready to exit the vehicle and reenter my apartment with my handgun (with a holster on the end of it) and school papers when this incident happened. Again, completely legal to carry to and from your residence.

3) Regardless of anything I did wrong, and I admit, I did a LOT wrong here, I still think the officer should have identified himself as police and the situation wouldn't have gone down as it did.

4) All charges were completely dropped 1 DAY after the statute of limitations on filing civil charges against the deputy and the department ran out; I did not seek civil action as I feared it would cause the officer to lie even more and again, feared it would hurt the criminal case they had against me

I will say that I'm glad it turned out the way it did. That was a situation where either myself, the deputy, or both of us could have been shot.

From the video, what did I do wrong and what did the officer do wrong? I honestly think he should have identified himself as police as he approached the car. Additionally, I still feel that there was no need to tase me in the back while I was flat on the ground. I thought I had been shot in the back by the carjacker, was dying, and had just seconds to live. As soon as the 5 second taser blast was over (which seemed like a lifetime), I realized it was an officer and immediately informed him I had a handgun and CCW and continued to comply.
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Old June 16, 2014, 09:15 AM   #2
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I watched the video, it is of very poor quality, both audio and, video. With that being said, It is very hard to determine if the officer identified himself or not as the audio is so sporadic and, of low quality.

We also don't know what the info was that the officer was working from and, what precipitated the call in the first place.

You said:

Quote:
A neighbor saw me carry the holstered gun to my car and called the police.
But, we don't know what the premise was that the officer was given by dispatch so, it is hard to determine his mindset.

Quote:
I was getting ready to exit the vehicle and reenter my apartment with my handgun (with a holster on the end of it) and school papers when this incident happened.
This does not seem "normal" to me. Why would you not tuck it into your pocket/waistband ? You carry a holstered firearm, obviously "openly", to your car, and lay it on the seat ? only to carry it back inside in the same manner ? Is open carry legal in your state ?

Quote:
I still think the officer should have identified himself as police and the situation wouldn't have gone down as it did.
I agree, in principle but, we really can't tell from the video whether he did, or not and, I have to speculate he was in a marked patrol car ?

You obviously have a reason for carrying your firearm from your house to your vehicle for such a short trip,in such a strange manner, maybe a bad neighborhood ? and your situational awareness was enough that you did so, yet you did not have enough awareness to notice a vehicle (likely a "black and white" ) circling the parking lot ?

I feel there is Much more to the story than you, or the video are portraying.
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Old June 16, 2014, 10:09 AM   #3
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Coming from a LE background. Heres what i see

1. Its unlikely this officer was responding to a call for service. Looks like he was on routine patrol thru the complex. I would hazard a guess that auto burglaries are what was on his mind

2. He comes across someone in a car in the dark parking area. So he decides to approach and see whats what

3. As he looks into the passenger side window he sees the gun and quite frankly freaks out. I dont know what part of the country this was, but some jurisdictions are more used to encountering guns then others

4. This officer did a TERRIBLE job controlling the situation. Not only were his commands unclear but the pitch of his voice shows a total lack of personal control. He was obviously out of his depth. One wonders how well he handles ACTUAL stress situations.

5. The vid stops prior to a Taser being deployed so im unclear why that took place. The vid ends with you out of the car, proned out at gun point. What happened that made the officer use a Taser after that. I can only assume that you did not obey his commands

6. Although you did a good job informing him that you had a CCW permit. His demeanor was such that it didnt matter at that moment

7. The video is unclear if he identified himself or not at the outset of the event. Either way, by the time you were out of the car and on the ground, you knew it was a police officer... Hence you stating over and over "ive got a concealed weapons permit". Any resistance after that is just dumb.
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Old June 16, 2014, 10:26 AM   #4
sentiency
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I did not resist after getting out of the car and standing there with my hands up. If you watch closely again you can see that right before I state that I have a CCW, that's when the taser was deployed. As he comes around the back of my car, he holsters his handgun on his right hip and he draws his taser. When he backs up while I'm on the ground, that's when the taser was deployed into my back. You can hear the pop of the taser at 0:45:56 in the video (the timer in the top right corner of the tape).

Again, a neighbor called the police because he saw me carry the handgun to my car. Remember, this was 3 AM in the morning. Being blinded with a flashlight left me only able to see a handgun in my face followed by very loud screams from whom I assumed was carjacking me.

I never resisted. I exited the car, put my hands up, then got on the ground when he told me to. I just thought he was going to steal my car. Then POP, two taser barbs in the back. He later made fun of the incident stating: "that had to hurt...a 25 foot taser cartridge at point blank range" when he was talking to a graduate student who was riding along with him during this incident.

The report states that the first thing he did was identify himself. That never happened. Additionally, in the report, he states that he told me to drop the gun multiple times. Where does he say that? He also wrote that I tried to run and that's why I was tased. Is standing there and then getting on the ground considering running? The police report reads as a total fabrication of what really happened.

Like I said before, I'm not trying to hate on police officers or anything like that. I have a family member who used to be an officer. I just believe that this situation could have ended up MUCH worse. If I did anything wrong, feel free to tell me and I won't get upset or angry. I just want honest opinions on this video after the stress, anxiety, and panic of this situation has finally started to settle down after 4+ years.

I honestly believe that perhaps he is a decent officer but he handled the situation entirely wrong. I have no way of knowing if this is true or not, but I have suspicions that after he realized he had just broken out the window of a CCW holder and tased me, that he realized he had screwed up. At the jail, he stated that he watched the video and wanted me to come watch it with him as I was leaving, but I refused as I did not want to say a word to him as he could potentially use ANYTHING I said against me.

Perhaps if the brightness of the video was increased somehow, it would be easier to see what is going on?

Oh, and this deputy was awarded the deputy of the year award the year after this happened.
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Old June 16, 2014, 10:30 AM   #5
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Why were you shooting video while simply retrieving papers from your car at 3am?
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Old June 16, 2014, 12:13 PM   #6
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sentiency wrote;
Quote:
I honestly believe that perhaps he is a decent officer but he handled the situation entirely wrong.
You obviously posted this video in an effort to get an opinion from the internet public-at-large about the incident, if you expect an honest critique, then answer the questions you have been asked.

1. Why were you carrying a handgun openly, in a holster, to your car, at 0300 Hrs. ? Is open carry legal in your State ?

2. How long were you in the vehicle "retrieving papers" ?

3. Why was the firearm "on the seat" ?

4. How do you know a neighbor called LE ?

5. What were you charged with ?

6. Why were the charges dropped ?

The description of events, quite frankly, does not give enough information and the video is almost useless without more narrative from you.


Sharkbite wrote;
Quote:
1. Its unlikely this officer was responding to a call for service. Looks like he was on routine patrol thru the complex. I would hazard a guess that auto burglaries are what was on his mind

2. He comes across someone in a car in the dark parking area. So he decides to approach and see whats what
Quote:
Either way, by the time you were out of the car and on the ground, you knew it was a police officer.
I am not LE but, that was the initial impression I got as well.

Also this:

sentiency wrote;
Quote:
All charges were completely dropped 1 DAY after the statute of limitations on filing civil charges against the deputy and the department ran out; I did not seek civil action as I feared it would cause the officer to lie even more and again, feared it would hurt the criminal case they had against me
If it unfolded as you say, any Lawyer worth his salt would have pounced on this from the beginning unless there was something there that he feared would hurt your criminal case quite badly. (something other that the possibility of the LEO lying )

Tell the rest of the story !
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Old June 16, 2014, 08:37 PM   #7
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This happened in South Carolina.

1) It was 3 AM, I was new to the area as I had recently moved there from graduate school. I keep my Kimber Ultra Carry II in condition 1 in a holster even while I'm not carrying. I was wearing some gym shorts as it was, again, in the middle of the night. I had no way to put it in my pocket or anything like that.

2) I was in the car for 5-6 minutes going through papers. I was attempting to find my notes from one of my computer science graduate classes. I was going through my bag looking through all of my papers attempting to find the notes from the correct date for a test the following Monday.

3) I placed the holstered firearm on the passenger seat as I expected to only be in the car for a minute or two. I was actually getting ready to get out of the car and head back into my apartment when I was surprised by the officer with his gun/flashlight in my face. I NEVER had the handgun in my hand, it was on the seat the entire time and I essentially froze as he was yelling so fast, it scared the living hell out of me. I NEVER reached for the gun or even attempted to make any type of move towards it.

4) Yes. I know a neighbor called 911 as it was listed on the incident report including his full info. He ended up moving back to California where he was from before the charges were finally dropped. My attorney had a 911 call that I listened to and he said that he saw someone walking to a car with a gun. Again, in South Carolina, it is 100% legal to carry a firearm to and from your residence and vehicle. This was literally 10 feet in front of my apartment.

5) Charged with pointing and presenting a firearm as well as unlawful carry of a pistol because by having it on the seat, I was "presenting" it to the officer. He wrote in the incident report that I pointed the holstered weapon at him and wrote that he told me numerous times to drop the gun. He NEVER said to drop the gun in the video, only to put my hands on the steering wheel. If I had a gun in my hand, was I supposed to keep holding it and grab the steering whee at the same time?

6) The charges were dropped after I refused to take the deal they offered which included me pleading to the unlawful carry AND they wanted me to forever give away my firearm rights. I said hell no.

I paid $7500 to an attorney to handle the whole case for me. They didn't even get this video for well over a year. They must have only briefly reviewed it because initially they said it happened "just like the officer said." Only later when they were actually preparing for trial (before charges were dropped) did they review the tape more closely and they IMMEDIATELY told me to get a civil attorney as they cleaned their version of the video up somehow and saw that I was on the ground when I was tased. I tried but it was too late as the statute of limitations of two years was only a week or so away.

This is 100% the truth. I don't know what else to say. Perhaps it was a mistake on my part to keep the handgun on my seat for a few minutes, but I was in my vehicle right in front of my apartment. Additionally, to answer the question why I did not see the officer approaching, it is because he turned off his headlights/blue lights before getting there.
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Old June 16, 2014, 10:02 PM   #8
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Maybe there's something not apparent in the video, but from the look and sound of things, it's clear the LEO over-reacted to the extreme. The only thing you may not have done is put your hands on the steering wheel when he ordered. Can't tell from the video.

This guy really doesn't need to be on the force if he can't control himself any better than shown in the video.
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Old June 16, 2014, 10:58 PM   #9
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It's outrageous - the cop is lying scum if the report said what you say it does. Sue early and often, before the stat. of limitations runs, I guess would be the main bullet point here folks. Sorry this happened to you and hope you fully heal both body and mind over this.
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Old June 16, 2014, 11:18 PM   #10
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So a grad student was riding along with the cop. What did he have to say about all this?
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Old June 16, 2014, 11:28 PM   #11
sentiency
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The grad student was a personal friend of the officer. I don't know anything else regarding what he thought, or any type of reaction he had. Again, this never went to trial so he was never called as a witness and the incident report didn't have any type of statement from him.

It's scary as hell having someone stick a gun in your face and thinking you are being carjacked. Even worse when you think you are shot through the back by the carjacker. I'm very lucky that it was only a taser as I thought I had just seconds to live...

Can anyone possibly edit the video to increase the brightness? You can probably see a lot more if you do that.

EDIT: also, if anyone wants me to scan a copy of the report I can try to find it and I'll black out my name and other info so you can read it; it may take me a while to find it.
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Old June 17, 2014, 04:37 AM   #12
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Sure looks like a car jacking.

I do not know the OP but watching the video it sure looks like a car jacking up to the point that the officer gets on the radio. Even with this bad video you can clearly see that the officer did not identify himself. The officer is just lucky to have survived due to your bad awareness of a hostile body being so close.
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Old June 17, 2014, 07:37 AM   #13
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Situational awareness would have gone a long way. Doesn't do much good to have a gun in the seat when you aren't situationally aware.

Yeah, the officer should have identified himself, but then again, would that somehow magically not make it a carjacking? Who says you would believe him? Bad guys claims to be cops all the time.

It does not look like a carjacking, or not like any I have seen. How many times to carjackers approach cars from the passenger side with a flashlight and tell you to put your hands on the wheel as opposed to giving loud commands with profanity and threats for you to get out of the car FIRST.
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Old June 17, 2014, 07:55 AM   #14
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Wow

This stuff really bothers me.

A lesson to take from it is to be very very careful.

Others want the whole story. I do not, I'm not the jury.

Although the audio and video quality wasn't the best I had zero issues hearing what's going on.

He did not state he was an officer at all. I wonder if he even read you your rights?

Normally their bs lies allow them to get away with these things but this video could have proved otherwise.

I am unsure of the laws in your area but I would have not let this one go. No IA? Take it higher. It bothers me they can get away with this.

I do not hate on police, only lying police who do not perform correctly.

Regardless, you are a lucky man. Even though this officer can not handle stress and needs better training or perhaps a desk job, it could've been much worse.

He could have killed you after he saw the gun in your seat and the video would have not shown if you pointed the gun or not. He would've gotten away with only his concience at guilt.

After all, according to the report you did point the gun at him right?

Yea right, you point a gun at a cop and he doesn't shoot you? If that report really says you did it would be hard to convince me this officer was not lying.
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Old June 17, 2014, 09:56 AM   #15
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I agree, both myself and the deputy are lucky that neither of us were shot. If I had fired upon him, I would most likely be in prison for life or worse. If he had shot me, it most likely would have not even been looked at twice. Like I said earlier, they have no internal affairs type department. Their investigator for complaints is their attorney who would have defended them had I filed a civil suit. If I had been killed, it would have been justified as a good shooting in their eyes even though he never identified himself.

I found out a few months after this happened that from February through the end of April that year, the deputy and his wife were having their house foreclosed on. This incident happened in early April that year, so it was right in the middle of while he was potentially losing his house. Again, this was in the middle of the night and his family was at home in his house he was about to lose. I honestly think he took that stress out on me.

He called my doctor because they had COMPLETELY searched my vehicle (trying to find something illegal I had, of course) and found a bottle of medication that was in my school bag I believe. I do not know what he said when he called my doctor, but my doctor wanted to make an appointment with me. As I was in grad school, 4 hours away from where I am from, I drove 4 hours home to make the appointment. I went into the doctor's office and he walked into the room and stated: "the doctor patient relationship between the two of us is now contraindicated due to the incident." and walked out of the room and I was told to leave by a nurse and not to worry about the co-pay. I then drove 4 hours back to my graduate school.

He called my graduate school and I ended up getting kicked out because he told them the lies about this situation and they ended up stating that I violated off-campus "ethics" policy. They apparently didn't want someone on campus who would point a gun at an officer, even though I VEHEMENTLY insist that I never did this and I think the video speaks for itself that this if I had, he would have either shot me or instructed me to drop the gun.

We even found a public Facebook profile of his in preparation for my trial where the deputy had a Facebook post that said this: " You can say 'stop' or 'alto' or any other word, but a large bore muzzle pointed at someone’s head is pretty much a universal language." That's effectively what he did to me. He didn't identify himself and just smashed my window and stuck his gun in my face.

Is there anyone I can contact about having someone ACTUALLY investigate this incident? I worry all the time that this officer does this kind of crap to people all the time and that others are going to end up charged with something that they didn't do, or even worse, perhaps shot by this officer if he makes more mistakes such as this.

The Sheriff's department wouldn't even review the tape. They only read the report. I even tried reporting the incident AGAIN after the first Sheriff and his entire administration left after an election. The new Sheriff didn't watch the video either. They just trusted what the incident report said. Note, the new Sheriff of this county was in the news a while back when Nelson Mandela died. He publicly refused to fly the flag at half mast as directed by Obama...it was a story on CNN.com and I honestly wasn't surprised when I read it and realized it was the same county all this crap happened in.

Even though this was over 4 years ago, civil action is not my reason for trying to get this video out there. The statute of limitations was up over 2 years ago. I honestly don't want the officer to end up hurting someone else with his mistakes. Perhaps if I can get someone in an official position to actually watch the video and compare it to the incident report, it could prompt some type of change...something along the lines of additional training for all of the deputies is something that they really should work on.

I swear, that county was toxic to the point that I ended up leaving and moving back home. This entire incident cost me my graduate school studies due to the officer contacting the school and getting me kicked out. It cost me my doctor that I had a great relationship with for years who understood the medical problems I have. It cost me my peace of mind and I have panic attacks all the time regarding this incident. It was and still can be total hell when thinking about it, but I want this type of thing to never happen to another individual due to mistakes and/or lack of proper training of the sheriff's deputies.
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Old June 17, 2014, 10:35 AM   #16
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How could you possibly not file a lawsuit??!!? Get a lawyer, sue the dept, the county, and the officer personally for everything he is worth (with any luck he'll be unemployed living on the streets when the lawyer is done.). Contact local media once lawsuits have been filed, share the video, etc. If this happened to me it would become my personal mission to ruin this rights violating, criminal with a badge.

We live in a civil society, that's what our legal system is for. LEO are not above the law, what this one did is so far out of line it's unbelievable. The fact you are not taking legal action leads me to believe there is something missing from this story.

Don't misunderstand me; I'm against frivolous law suits, but since we can't take this officer behind the woodshed and beat him with a hose, a lawsuit is the only reasonable option. Oh, and again, that's what the legal system is for!!!!

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Old June 17, 2014, 10:43 AM   #17
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I can't take legal action. The statute of limitations is up. The limit is two years. The charges were dropped by the prosecutor exactly after two years...AND ONE DAY.
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Old June 17, 2014, 10:47 AM   #18
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I think the reason the cop went from normal to nuts because he saw the gun on your front seat so he was worried that you would reach for it. Now for him going to nuts might be cause he is new and full of pee and vinegar and nervous which equals bad things happening.

I would like to know how you got this video cause they usually dont give that up that easy. Usually you need a lawyer and court to get those things.

Now maybe our police officers here could let us know how the dash cams work cause I thought they only come one when the lights are on. And Im sure the officer can turn it on manually. But I dont understand why he was on patrol and had the dash cam on usless he was expecting something to happen.

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Old June 17, 2014, 10:50 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sentiency
I can't take legal action. The statute of limitations is up. The limit is two years. The charges were dropped by the prosecutor exactly after two years...AND ONE DAY.
That's really quite irrelevant to what you could have done DURING that 2 years. There's absolutely nothing stopping you from file a lawsuit while the charges are still pending.
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Old June 17, 2014, 11:37 AM   #20
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[quote=sentiency]I can't take legal action. The statute of limitations is up. The limit is two years. The charges were dropped by the prosecutor exactly after two years...AND ONE DAY.[/color]

For clarification, was that the SOL on the charges filed against you, or was that on the possible civil suit you could file?
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Old June 17, 2014, 11:51 AM   #21
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That was on the civil suit. Two years is the limit. I tried contacting an attorney and they said I had a great case but they didn't have time to have their investigator properly look into everything. It was well over a year after my arrest before we even received this videotape from the prosecutor, even though it was requested within a week or two after I retained my attorney (which was less than a week or two after the arrest).

Once the trial was about to start, after I refused a deal to plead to unlawful carry and give up my gun rights forever, that's when my attorney looked into the tape a lot more clearly. He noticed at that time that everything the officer did was incorrect and saw that I was clearly on the ground when I was tased. He immediately told me to get an attorney but it ended up being too late.

You have to realize that my attorney was going 100% on the incident report until the tape came and he finally got around to reviewing it in detail. Due to the amount of lies in the report and not having the video tape on hand, I honestly feared that if I tried to take action against him, it would make them try to press me harder for the insane criminal charges or try to get me to drop the civil suit or they wouldn't drop the charges.
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Old June 17, 2014, 12:03 PM   #22
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If you've got a "slam dunk" civil case such as you describe, it really makes no difference what they do with the criminal charges since they're going to slam dunk lose the criminal side on the same basis that you're going to slam dunk win the civil side.

Sounds to me like your attorney either sucked or was blowing smoke up your butt and didn't really think you had a case either. I don't buy the whole thing about there not being enough time either. The case doesn't have to END by that date, it has to START. Filing the paperwork doesn't take 2 weeks.
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Old June 17, 2014, 01:07 PM   #23
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Not all there

I had an canine officer try and pull an attempting to flee charge on me. Fortunately for me two local officers responded to the call so while the canine officer tried to stroke his lack of masculinity I was in handcuffs Bs ing with the two other officers about their department carry weapons as which they preferred. I was uncuffed and home in a few minutes and on the phone to the canine officers supervisor who reviewed the dashcam video and isuued the repremand the following week to the canine officer.

You simply can not let legal issues drag like you did.
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Old June 17, 2014, 05:50 PM   #24
Double Naught Spy
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Quote:
That was on the civil suit. Two years is the limit. I tried contacting an attorney and they said I had a great case but they didn't have time to have their investigator properly look into everything. It was well over a year after my arrest before we even received this videotape from the prosecutor, even though it was requested within a week or two after I retained my attorney (which was less than a week or two after the arrest).

You contacted AN attorney who said his people didn't have the time and that was it? Well, if you went to one attorney and his people didn't have the time to review the case, then probably no other attorney would have any time either.
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Old June 18, 2014, 06:27 AM   #25
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Thanks for filling in the blanks sentiency, it makes the situation much more clear.

The officers actions are extremely questionable and, I agree that if your story is accurate, the arrest was un-warranted. However, the way your lawyer handled this and, indeed, the way you failed to follow up was equally as damaging to you. IMO The legal profession, much like the medical profession, is such that if you have a serious situation going on, both parties must participate in the case equally and, if you see a problem with the way you are being treated, seek other opinions. Just like any other person you hire to do a job, if they are not giving you your monies worth, fire them and get someone more competent.

You were a victim of a bad police officer/ organization and, of your own lawyers ineptness. The former you had no say in, the latter is one you could have changed at any time had you been vigilant.
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