A Columbia Tribune columnist writes he feared for his life during a recent traffic stop in Boone County, Missouri, but a dash cam video of the incident shows something completely different.
Bill Clark was pulled over for failing to use his turn signal, and he wrote the terrifying experience helped him “understand how minority motorists feel when they are pulled over for the most trivial reason, or no reason at all.”
Clark says he stopped completely, but then noticed that he was in the intersection.
“I was now blocking traffic into Bull Run, so I rolled slowly forward to a shoulder wide enough for both vehicles,” he writes. “…I was lucky I wasn’t shot…Danger lurked and official arrogance was to follow.”
It reads like a harrowing tale of a narrowly adverted shooting of an unarmed citizen–driving a dinged up car plastered with Bernie stickers. Unfortunately for Clark, the Boone County Sheriff’s Office pulled the film of the traffic stop.
Sherriff Dwayne Carey wrote an official response to the column, detailing the traffic stop to the final seconds. The video clearly shows Clark failing to use his turn signal, establishing probable cause for the traffic stop. It also shows Clark steering his vehicle to the side of the road and stopping.
“You can hear the deputy put the patrol vehicle in park,” Carey writes in a play-by-play of what he calls a “mundane” traffic stop. “Pay attention to the intersection light, as it is red at the time.”
When the intersection light turns green and deputies are exiting the patrol car, Clark cuts off a vehicle and begins to move.
“In the law enforcement world, that is an indication that the driver is going to flee,” the Sheriff writes.
Deputies turn on their sirens, and Clark pulls over a second time. This is the moment, Clark writes, he worried about being shot.
“There is never a weapon drawn, the deputies don’t take a position of cover, there are no loud verbal commands, no panic or anything else for that matter by the deputies,” Sheriff Carey reports. “Would you agree this is sensationalism at its best? I say yes!”
The deputy calls Clark “sir” throughout the encounter and thanks the columnist before he drives away.
“The nerve of law enforcement these days,” Sheriff Carey writes. “…Did you ever see a point where Ol’ Clark’s life was in danger (other than when he cut in front of the truck)? What about that good dose of arrogance he received from the deputy who addressed him as sir and thanked him numerous times? How was he in the shoes of minorities as an elderly white male?…If he believes this is how minorities are treated, then minorities can be assured from this video that they will be treated professionally by Boone County deputies.”