“Are you some kind of a constitutionalists?” cop asks man filming
A California police officer drew his firearm on a man who was merely filming in his own neighborhood, in an intense moment caught on film.
The incident began last Wednesday when Rohnert Park resident Don McComas says he noticed an officer in a patrol vehicle observing him while he latched his boat onto his SUV.
“I stood up and just watched him,” McComas described. “He ever so slowly pulled away, circled the court opposite my house and then just parked facing my house. After an honest couple of minutes I pulled out my camera and pressed record.”
At the start of filming, the officer pulls into and stops in the middle of McComas’ cul-de-sac and appears to call in his license plate number.
The officer then proceeds to draw his cell phone and bizzarely begins to film McComas.
“He thinks he’s being funny now,” McComas comments.
“Go ahead and take your hand out of your pocket,” the unidentified officer upon exiting the cruiser orders McComas, who refuses saying, “No sir I’ve done absolutely nothing. No.”
The incident takes a serious turn when the officer removes his sidearm from his holster and begins approaching McComas menacingly.
“As minor as some would say it was, when I saw his gun gripped in his hand I really thought he was going to shoot me and claim my hand was in my pocket,” McComas says in the Youtube video description.
When McComas demands to know why the officer got out of his car, the officer replies, “You’re taking a picture of me, I’m taking a picture of you.”
The officer then argues he has the right to be on the sidewalk outside of the man’s house, as McComas expresses his family has been persistently harassed by police.
“What’s wrong with you, man?” the officer asks.
“Your station is corrupt,” McComas answers.
“Oh ok,” the officer says, before asking, “Are you some kind of a constitutionalists? Crazy guy or something like that?”
After cooling down, the officer walks back to his vehicle defeated, telling McComas to “go ahead and put it on Youtube.”
The video is sparking outrage, with many police accountability activist groups calling out the flagrant disregard for the rule of law and common decency.
Yesterday, the mayor and city manager of the City of Rohnert Park released a statement saying they plan to “conduct an internal review to verify that appropriate protocols were followed.”
Message about video of Rohnert Park Public Safety Officer
Posted Date: 8/4/2015
Regarding video of Rohnert Park Public Safety Officer:
We’ve been made aware of this matter and we are taking it seriously. We understand the concerns that have been raised by our community and others and we want the public to know that your trust in law enforcement in our City is a top priority. As a result, we will conduct an internal review to verify that appropriate protocols were followed. We will also review our protocols because we want to make sure we are using the best practices for the highest level of safety for both our officers and the community.
Mayor Amy Ahanotu and City Manager Darrin Jenkins
The department’s Facebook page was evidently deleted sometime yesterday. A cached version shows users began sharing the McComas confrontation on the page accompanied by comments which the department may have feared would tarnish their reputation.
“Thank you,” a message left by the department early Tuesday morning reads. “This has already been brought to our attention and will be responded to in due course. Take care.”
The Free Thought Project’s Matt Agorist highlights that a section of the California penal code regarding drawing a firearm in a “threatening manner” may have been violated by the officer.
“According to CAL. PEN. CODE § 417 : California Code – Section 417:
(2) Every person who, except in self-defense, in the presence of any other person, draws or exhibits any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, in a rude, angry, or threatening manner, or who in any manner, unlawfully uses a firearm in any fight or quarrel is punishable as follows:
(A) If the violation occurs in a public place and the firearm is a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person, by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than three months and not more than one year, by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.
(B) In all cases other than that set forth in subparagraph (A), a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than three months.