Sacramento police released bodycam and surveillance footage of a cop arresting a man for refusing to identify himself after the cop confronted him for leaving his car running in front of a 7-11.
Last week, we posted smartphone footage of the arrest on our Facebook page, which showed the cop slamming the man against a window before tackling him.
But that footage did not begin until after the cop was trying to arrest Craig Williams.
The bodycam footage begins with no audio, showing the cop beckoning at Williams to step outside, then reaching into Williams’ car and turning the ignition off.
At :52 in the video, once the audio turns on, the cop demands his identification.
“ID please,” the cop says as he walks up to Williams, who has stepped out of the store.
“For what? I didn’t break no law,” Williams responds.
The cop tells him it is a misdemeanor to leave a car running unattended. The cop also said his stereo was too loud.
Williams, who pulls out his phone to record, repeatedly asks if it is against the law to leave his car running, accusing the cop of “harassing” him, telling the cop that he was only a few feet away from his running car.
The cop repeatedly tells him it is against the law, but doesn’t mention the city code that would confirm it is, indeed, a misdemeanor.
At 1:23, the cop calls for a backup unit, obviously planning on escalating the situation.
At 1:46 in the video – less than a minute after he initially asked for identification – the cop orders Williams to put his phone down, then grabs his wrist to arrest him.
“What are you detaining me for?” Williams repeatedly asks, still not believing that it is against the law to leave a car running unattended.
He even tells witnesses to “call the police,” obviously believing he is being persecuted for no lawful reason.
Williams ends up arrested for leaving his car running and resisting arrest.
According to the Sacramento Bee:
“These videos demonstrate how important it is for there to be a relationship of trust between a police department and the community it serves,” the department said in the Wednesday press release accompanying the videos. “When that level of trust is absent, even minor incidents — such as a warning of a city code violation — can escalate into unpleasant and even dangerous events.”
Ward, the attorney, told reporters Wednesday he believed Williams did not take the officer seriously because he didn’t know he had committed a real offense. Williams returned to the store after the initial contact with the officer because he had left money inside, the lawyer said.
“Who here would think that is a crime, right?” Ward said about leaving a car idling. “I don’t believe that Mr. Williams thought that the officer was being serious.”
The irony here is that Sacramento Police Department states just how little trust there is between police and community but does not acknowledge that it was the cop who needlessly escalated the situation.
All the cop had to do was show Williams the municipal code he was violating and tell him he was only going to give him a warning for the minor infraction.
But he was more concerned about teaching Williams a lesson for not respecting his authority.