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Pulling Gun on Speeder Could Cost Michigan Cop His Job

“This was a simple traffic stop turned into a horrifying experience for the driver and her family,” a county prosecutor said after investigating an April traffic stop in which a state trooper exited his cruiser with his gun drawn.

Dash cam video obtained by the Kalamazoo Gazette shows a Michigan trooper drawing his gun on an 18-year-old woman he had stopped for speeding. (Screenshot: Michigan State Police video)
Dash cam video obtained by the Kalamazoo Gazette shows a Michigan trooper drawing his gun on an 18-year-old woman he had stopped for speeding. (Screenshot: Michigan State Police video)

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.

Danielle Smith May 21, 2014 at 03:14 PM
If you dont want a problem with the police then dont break the law....no excuse to do 77 mph in a 55 unless medical emergency, exactly what was she going to do when she got home attack the burglar? and if she truly couldnt see the lights and the car behind her then her window tint is way to dark and that is illegal.....there are alot of cops out there on a power trip and play god with there position however I do not believe this is one of those times...35 seconds is an eternity in a stressful situation...sporty car with a tint driving at a high rate of speed and wont pull over right away is completely suspicious and that tint prevents the officer from seeing what the driver is doing! Welcome to the real world young lady where cops get killed for doing there jobs one of which could have been saving your butt had you been in the house while it was being burglarized!
Brad Jensen May 21, 2014 at 03:18 PM
So, cops should draw on anyone acting suspicious? How about AFTER the cop saw that it was an unarmed young girl? Were the cuffs also justified?
jthall May 22, 2014 at 10:46 PM
Tinted windows (illegal in the front) pretty much beg a cop to approach the vehicle with gun drawn. As for the rest of the cop's actions, they are as questionable as her behavior leading up the the traffic stop.
Patricia May 29, 2014 at 05:08 PM
An officer in MI was shot to death with a routine traffic stop…..an officer in AZ was shot to death last week, again, pulling over a vehicle for a traffic stop---if the driver was speeding and for 2 miles paid no attention to lights or sirens it appears like she was trying to "get away". In this case, she should be apologizing and her father, although concerned, should keep quiet! The "disgusting" behavior are young drivers that obviously aren't ready to be behind the wheel----what if she hit someone and killed innocent people? Maybe the father and the young driver should give that some thought.
henry eroh June 03, 2014 at 08:10 AM
they should all draw their weapons when making any kind of stop- how many have been killed because they did not- don't fire him give him an award- at least she stopped and if her excuse is false throw her in jail

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