Should a Michigan state trooper who reportedly pulled a gun on an 18-year-old woman he’d stopped for speeding, then asked her during questioning if she enjoyed having a gun pulled on her lose his job?
A county prosecutor in southwestern Michigan thinks so, the Detroit Free Press reports. The trooper reportedly clocked the woman driving 77 mph in a 55 mph zone on April . She stopped about 35 seconds after the trooper activated his lights, and explained she was in a hurry to get home because her father had called to say their home had been burglarized.
The Kalamazoo Gazette obtained a video showing the stop of the April 15 stop near Sturgis, MI, which showed the trooper leaving his vehicle with his gun drawn, handcuffing the woman and putting her in the back seat, while recording the following conversation:
“I chased you for two miles with my lights and sirens at almost 80 mph. Do you see a problem with that?” the trooper asked.
“Yes, I do,” she responded. “I honestly didn’t see you.”
St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough’s recommendation that the trooper be fired came after the Michigan State Police asked his office to investigate the stop. He declined to press charges, according to a statement, but said he was “appalled and disgusted” by the trooper’s conduct and became sick to his stomach when he read the trooper asked the woman if she enjoyed being held at gunpoint.
“This was a simple traffic stop turned into a horrifying experience for the driver and her family,” he concluded.
In the statement, McDonough also said:
“I cannot believe that someone with his experience and training would act in such an unprofessional way. Thankfully, nobody was hurt, and I do hope the young girl is not traumatized because of his actions.”
The Michigan State Police said in a statement the video “clearly shows actions by the trooper that are not consistent with department policy” and said “Inappropriate behavior like this is not condoned or tolerated.”
The investigation is onging, and the trooper has been on administrative leave since it was initiated in mid-April.
In his written statement to his supervisors, the trooper said his additional caution was a result of thinking about a colleague, Trooper Paul Butterfield II, who was fatally shot in a 2013 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 Kalamazoo Gazette obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request.