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Campbell Police Department
Monday July 31st, 2017 :: 07:09 p.m. PDT


News Release: Response to Facebook video of car stop on Highway 101

We were recently made aware of a video circulating on Facebook showing a Campbell Police Officer with his gun pointed at the occupant of a vehicle during a car stop. The video, which was filmed by the driver of the vehicle, is a little over 9 minutes in length and only shows a portion of the incident. We wanted to take this opportunity to provide context to what led up to the start of the video and how the incident ended. We are in a position to provide the context because we have reviewed the officer’s body-worn camera, which recorded the encounter in its entirety.

Last Wednesday morning (7/26/17), a Campbell Police motorcycle officer was driving to our city after conducting follow-up interviews in another jurisdiction. As he was traveling northbound on Highway 101 south of Bailey Avenue, he observed a vehicle pass him in the far right lane traveling at approximately 85 MPH. Based on the speed and traffic conditions, the officer stopped the vehicle out of safety concerns. For clarification, all peace officers in the State of California have the authority to enforce the vehicle code throughout the state regardless of their jurisdiction.

After contacting the driver and passenger on the side of the highway, there was approximately five minutes that elapsed prior to the start of the Facebook video. During that time, there was a cordial conversation between the officer and the occupants of the vehicle where he explained why he had stopped the car and requested the driver’s license and additional paperwork. Both the driver and passenger spent several minutes looking for the requested paperwork. The officer informed the occupants to wait in the vehicle as he prepared to walk back to his motorcycle to write a citation. It was at that time that the passenger began reaching under his seat. It is not clear why the passenger chose to reach under the seat since the officer was not requesting any other paperwork.

Unfortunately, the passenger’s unexpected movement towards the bottom of the seat, caused the officer to perceive a threat and draw his handgun. The officer requested additional officers respond to assist him so that he could safely resolve the situation. The comments on the Facebook video bring up a lot of different viewpoints about how the officer could have responded differently or used different tactics. Our officers receive a tremendous amount of training on a consistent basis and that training is what dictates our response. This is intended to protect our officers as well as those they come in contact with. The unfortunate reality is sometimes people attack police officers, as tragically occurred in the City of Los Banos this morning when two officers were shot.

We understand that it is never a comfortable position to have a gun pointed at you, regardless of whether it is a police officer. Unfortunately, the length of time that the officer’s gun was drawn lasted much longer than normal based on his location. If this same situation would have occurred closer to back-up officers, it would most likely have been resolved much sooner. However, since this occurred on the side of Highway 101 during rush hour traffic, it took an extended amount of time until other officers could arrive and provide assistance in safely resolving the situation.

In the end, the officer had a conversation with the passenger of the vehicle explaining his actions and why the gun was pointed at him. The passenger indicated he understood why it happened and actually apologized to the officer. Both the driver and the passenger were issued citations and were allowed to leave.

As an agency, we can understand the response to the Facebook video, and that is why we have and will continue engaging our community.

We strive to provide the highest level of service which includes an open dialogue with our community. In order to be effective in serving, there needs to be a mutual understanding of not only why we do certain things, but understanding how we can improve and better connect with those we come in contact with.

We are thankful that this incident resolved itself with no one getting injured and hope that this additional information provides clarification.

Campbell Police Department
70 N. First Street
Campbell , CA 95008

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 408-866-2121

Gary Berg
Public Information Officer

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