California man records cop threatening to invent charges against him
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has promised a full administrative review after one of their officers was secretly recorded threatening to “create something” over which to arrest a man.
Duncan Hicks, 34, of Victorville, Calif., recorded the incident on his phone on Jan. 20 at a local police station. He says he came to file a criminal complaint but became upset with the “rude” behaviour of the deputy and receptionist on duty.
“I went there to file a complaint and get an incident report filled out,” Hicks said in a telephone interview with the San Bernardino Sun. “The deputy and the woman at the desk were rude and irritated. They refused to even help me and kicked me out, telling me I had to leave.”
So Hicks grabbed his cellphone and recorded the interaction after he says the deputy refused to take his report. That’s when the following interaction took place:
Hicks: “This is not explaining the incident, sir.”
Deputy: “K, Duncan. You know what man? I’m about getting tired of you and you’re about to go to jail just so you know.”
Hicks: “What am I going to jail for?”
Deputy: “I’ll create something, you understand? You’ll go to jail. You understand that?”
Hicks: “You can’t say that. How you gonna create something? That’s against the law.”
At that point, the officer takes note of the phone in Hicks’ hand and realizes he’s being recorded.
Deputy: “Recording me like that. That’s illegal without my knowledge. You want to go to jail for that too?”
Hicks: “You have a gun on your hip. I’m doing this for my protection.”
Hicks says he later complained about the threat to the duty sergeant who told him the deputy was likely have a “bad day.”
The San Bernardino Police department faced a backlash after Hicks took his video to several media outlets in the Los Angeles area, especially on social media where calls for accountability are growing.
“The lady at the counter needs to be fired immediately,” reads a comment on the department Facebook page. “It is NOT her lobby, it is a public building funded by the taxpayer. The officer who made the threat for false arrest needs to be taken into custody and charged.”
“Why hasn’t this reprobate been: 1. Immediately fired since his guilt is self-evident, and 2. Arrested, jailed, and charged with the criminal offense he was video recorded perpetrating?” reads another.
In a statement to media, San Bernardino County Sherrif John McMahon promised the department will conduct a full review of the incident and of department policy when it comes to public interactions.
“Since viewing the video, our employees’ response to the citizen is not consistent with my expectation of customer service,” the statement reads.
“Additionally, the deputy’s responses are not consistent with the interpretation of the law. As a result, we are conducting an administrative investigation into this incident, and the four other previous contacts with the citizen to ensure all previous contacts were professionally handled.”
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