Prosecutor: Fire trooper who pulled gun on speeder

A southwestern Michigan prosecutor has called for the firing of a state trooper who pulled a gun on an 18-year-old woman whom he had stopped for speeding.
AP Wire
May 20, 2014

The Kalamazoo Gazette obtained a video showing the trooper leaving his cruiser with gun drawn, then handcuffing the woman and putting her in the backseat of his cruiser.

State police asked St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough to investigate the April 15 traffic stop on U.S. 12 near Sturgis.

The Associated Press is not naming the trooper because he hasn't been charged with a crime.

In a statement, the prosecutor said he was "appalled and disgusted" by the trooper's actions. McDonough said he did not want the trooper "to have the opportunity to do anything like this again and certainly not in St. Joseph County."

Authorities say the woman was driving 77 mph in a 55 mph zone and stopped about 35 seconds after the trooper activated his lights and siren. They say she was rushing home because her father had called her to say that their home had been burglarized.

"I chased you for two miles with my lights and sirens at almost 80 mph. Do you see a problem with that?" he asked her.

"Yes, I do," she responded in the video recording. "I honestly didn't see you."

In a written statement to a supervisor, the trooper said he was thinking about the 2013 fatal shooting of Michigan state Trooper Paul Butterfield II during a traffic stop.

"With the recent incident ... at the forefront of my mind, I elected to 'clear' the vehicle for my safety as I feel the vehicle could have suddenly pulled to the side in an effort to lure me into a vulnerable position where I could easily be shot," the trooper said in the statement, which the newspaper obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request.

The trooper is on paid leave during the investigation.

Comments

spanone

don't blame the officer he did right.. there is way to may crazy people out there driving

Wolverine49457

He pulled a weapon on a person for SPEEDING, if he actually thought his life may be in danger by a single female occupant he should call for backup before clearing the vehicle. He's covering his tracks with the Butterfield story and sounds like he's either blinded with fear or a loose cannon, either way the right thing was to dismiss him.

Harry Kovaire

I agree with John McDonough. It appears from the few details in this story, this man does not possess the temperament or judgement to be a police officer.

There were 33 police officers killed last year in the line of duty.

It is estimated that there were between 500 and 1000 citizens killed by the police. Conveniently, these records are not kept or compiled.

Creed Bratton

Yea fire this guy. Guns in the line of duty should be the absolute last resort. Call for back up maybe if you feel threatened? Cops are becoming way to gun toting happy and its getting scary.

newspaperlawyer

They have so much money invested in this trooper they will transfer him to another post. I'm Surprised the state police was not able to keep this incident out of the news.

Grand Haven Happy

I couldn't agree more with what the officer did or any LEO in the same scenario. How can you possibly defend the obvious actions of a driver going nearly 80 mph in a 55 mph zone for 2 miles with a LEO vehicle behind having flashing lights and the siren going? Grow up! In any sane human's mind and of course, it's the LAW to stop completely now and not doing so is an on purpose disregard of the requirement of having been issued a driver's license, in the first place, to pull over immediately and stop and who knows for what reason a driver does not!

Revoking on the spot of a driver's license should be mandatory for a driver blatantly disregarding the lawful instructions of any so vividly displayed command to pull over and stop NOW! The courts and a judge, as should be, will decide if the driver's license will be given back to the violator in a court of law. That's what our written laws state!

The police are humans also and need/must protect themselves from the crazy's and potential violence as many fleeing are wanted on warrants, or on drugs, or drunk or are drug dealers, or transporting mules of contraband, and/or any combination thereof. Do the police not have a right to protect their lives from violent actions of a person willfully disregarding the proper protocal actions inacted by an LEO? Use your head if you are able to or are some of you nay sayers also into illegal actions or problems yourself now or have been and don't like being caught? Obey the laws and quit making excuses and you have nothing to worry about! Got it?

The Trooper DID exactly the right thing for the scenario he was facing and thank you sir as you are one who will be able to go home that day to your family but some never even had the opportunity because they didn't protect themselves, period!

Wolverine49457

I ask again; If the cop thought the threat level was sufficient that in his mind lethal force may be forthcoming why didn’t he call for backup? It sounds like they both made mistakes that day…but among the two participants only one had thoughts of ending a life and the means to do it.

Back to the Wall

Check your math. 35 seconds at 77 miles per hour is less than 3/4 mile - 4,000 feet. Signaling, changing lanes and coming to a stop in 4000 feet on a highway is prudent and safe.

I'm not defending anyone for speeding or reckless driving, but am happy to see a hothead cop's gun and badge taken.

And before we get all you bootlickers telling us how hard and dangerous it is to be a police officer, let's look at MORE facts:

http://newsfeed.time.com/2014/01...

Loggers, commercial fishermen, pilots, roofers, steel workers, garbage collectors, electrical utility workers, drivers (truckers and outside sales), farmers, and construction laborers are the top 10 most likely to be killed on the job.

Police officers don't make the list. A travelling salesman has a more dangerous job than a cop. Don't be a sucker. They are playing on your fear of being unable to take care of yourself.

TooMuch

A hothead cop, really? Rolling my eyes. He didn't shoot her, beat her up or pull her hair! Those hothead farmers pulling their guns out and shooting people after they run from them! My Gaud! The top ten you list are usually injured because they hurt themselves. Get a grip. First we don't know all the details and second she was reckless driving. The Prosecutor should be standing behind the Officer on the details we do know about. Maybe it wasn't this time he should have been fearing for his life, but it could be the next time. Which time should he know? Shame on her father for making her overreact in the first place. Would you all be pointing a finger at the father if she had been in a horrible accident and the Trooper was assisting in the fatality she caused or her own?

Back to the Wall

Putting the weapon into service, handcuffing, and taking into custody is overreacting to a speeding infraction.
There was no fleeing and eluding; she was not a suspect of anything.
I stand by my words.
Hothead cop.

nextdoor

We don't know the facts well I hope the judge did when he made his request.

dyankee

This young girl's home was just burglarized. Where is the compassion for legitimate reasoning? 77 mph is not going to hurt anyone on a highway. Did the cops catch the burglar....no, because there too busy generating revenue with speeding tickets and seat belt entrapment zones. (Taxing without representation at its finest)

There are too many police officers that create these situations by sticking their nose where it ought not be.(barley speeding, rolling stops, not using a turn signal, tinted windows, something hanging from a rearview mirror, we all know the drill) They intimidate and taunt citizens hoping to pounce on them when a victim reacts so, they can blame them versus themselves.

How would you like to have a pistol (with the safety off) pointed at your head (or your daughter’s) and then, hauled out of your car and placed in handcuffs for speeding? She stopped in 35 seconds so, that means she was slowing in about 15 seconds as she prepared to pull over.

This hot headed officer should be fired, arrested himself for assault with a deadly weapon, and sued for defamation of character. I wonder if any of her friends, co-workers, or neighbors passed bye as she is standing along the road in handcuffs? The people are sick of politicians, government abuses, and getting sick of police officers just like this idiot.

Blind faith in law enforcement and unwillingness to question authority is just as big of a problem in our country. Cops are over stepping their authority on a daily bases. Time to push back. This prosecutor is the real hero because he is trying to make this wrong a right for this innocent victim.

To use a Paul Butterfield excuse is all you need to hear to know we are dealing with a real cop moron. Get out of the business if you can't handle the requirements. What an insult to the Butterfield family to use their situation as an excuse for his inability to appropriately react to an 18 year old girl whom was by herself and cooperating fully.

drkathryn

The trooper said he was thinking about the 2013 fatal shooting of Michigan state Trooper Paul Butterfield II during a traffic stop. Butterfield was killed on a dark, isolated road, not along a US highway. This trooper was hot under the collar and failed to call for backup if he felt threatened. A gun is the final authority.

Lanivan

Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have heard about inappropriately aggressive action on the part of a law enforcement officer while at a routine call, even in the tri-cities area. If the allegations went down as told, this state trooper should be fired. The officer who verbally abused, threatened, manhandled, handcuffed behind his back, kept sitting in a hot car, a 75-year old retired man of slight build and soft voice, and in ill health, but who accidentally went in the out driveway, got off scot-free.

Vladtheimp

In my judgment, this is not an easy issue to resolve. On the one hand, I can understand those who criticize the Officer for not calling for back up and for un-hostering his weapon; on the other hand, he was faced with someone who was traveling at a very high rate of speed in what appears to be a residential area and ignored his lights and siren, even if for 35 seconds (if I have a cop behind me with lights and siren flashing, like an ambulance or fire truck, I pull over immediately.

Having many friends who are cops (but in a more urban area where the risks are greater), and having represented cops many years ago, I would suggest that if this officer had no other instances of cowboy reactions in his record, rather than ruining his career he should be given some additional training, and if that doesn't take, he should find a new career path.

Very few of us know what it is like to approach a vehicle's driver who is ignoring the law - it's only rational to ensure that you are protected while you are attempting to make sure that the driver will not run down a child in the street.

zwesterhouse

I sure don't see any problem with him pulling his firearm out. Thats they way they do things in the deep south in southern state anyways. Don't know what the fuss is all about

FuturaGH

dyankee AGAIN!!!
This guy is good folks!

Let's take a close look at the innumerable amount of incidents regarding only our local "gatekeepers".

Forcible rape while in uniform, dual-domestic abuse,
Officers kicking one another in the groin and writing each others names on department issued bullets!!

We have been Infested with this sickness right at home.

These are the types of people that continually show their true colors. Let's never forget its just a uniform.

FuturaGH

Grand Haven Happy is obviously on the
" L E O " payroll!!

Let's hope he doesn't mistake your daughter for a drug-toting-cartel-mule! He is excited to replicate his heroes actions!

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