A Wisconsin police department has defended itself after a video went viral showing one of its officers throwing a plastic bag into a car after stopping it for speeding.
The video was originally posted to Facebook by a user who went by the name “La Savoo”, who is believed to from the town of Racine and works as a recording artist, according to his page. It depicts the moments after he was was pulled over for speeding by officers from the Caledonia Police Department.
The footage shows an officer walk up the stopped car and toss what appears to be a plastic bag into the opened passenger door.
“What’s that? What did you just throw in here? I got you on camera, bro,” La Savoo asks the police officer.
The police officer responds, “What’s what?”
“Hey bro, you just threw that in here,” he tells the officer as he zooms in on the bag. The video then cuts out.
The footage went viral on social media on 24 July, with many people criticising the police officer.
In response, the police department posted its own footage on Facebook recorded by the officer’s body camera showing more context around the viral video.
The police footage shows that the bag was taken from another passenger in the car by another officer at the scene. The other officer then gives it to the his colleague, who is then seen throwing it in the car, just like in the first video.
He is heard explaining why he put the bag back into the car in the body camera video.
“Because it was in his pocket and I don’t feel like holding on to it,” he is heard saying.
Christopher Borsch, the chief of the Caledonia Police, said that the bag did not have any illegal drugs inside.
“The empty corner tear did NOT contain any illegal substance; however, this type of packaging is a common method for holding illegal drugs,” he said in a statement.
He continued, “The empty corner tear was turned over by the searching officer to another officer who was on scene. That officer turned it over to the officer who is seen on video. Since there were NO DRUGS in the corner tear, the officers discarded the empty packaging material in the vehicle. This is what was observed in the video.”
They also elaborated that the car was pulled over because it was travelling at 63 miles per hour in an area with a 45 mile per hour limit. The driver showed her license to law enforcement, however the two passengers, including La Savoo, would not show their ID to the police. Authorities deemed to stop to be “lawful”. According to the police, the passengers were not wearing seatbelts.
No arrests were made but the driver was given a speeding ticket, according to the police officer.
The Village of Caledonia Police Department stated they were still reviewing more than six hours of body camera footage from the four officers at the scene.