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A concerned bystander captured video over the weekend of a routine traffic stop that appeared to take an odd turn.
Officers reportedly used a loudspeaker to address passengers of a blue SUV they pulled over in the middle of traffic, as captured by bystander Denee Harris and shared on Youtube by Storyful.
One officer can be heard ordering the passengers to exit the vehicle one by one: “Hands up! Put your hands up! Over your head! Pretend like we’re going to shoot you!”
“Now why would you say that?” asks the person recording the bystander video.
Later on, an officer appears to confiscate a passenger’s crutch, throwing it onto the ground. Then an officer drives the suspects’ vehicle away from the scene, as Harris and other bystanders audibly protest from the street.
In the screenshot above, police officers appear to be peering into the emptied vehicle.
The incident took place on Saturday, ABC News reports. Two of four passengers were arrested, while the other two were released after initially being detained, according to The Sacramento Bee. One man, Zachary LeBlanc, 53, has been charged in connection with the incident, the Miami Herald reports. LeBlanc, who is currently being held in the Harris County Jail with no bond, faces one count each of possession of a controlled substance, and theft of a motor vehicle.
Houston, Texas Police Chief Art Acevedo addressed the incident in a statement via Twitter on May 21, in which he supported the tactics used but not the phrasing.
“We are aware of the video of our officers conducting a felony stop on a stolen vehicle occupied by multiple suspects,” Acevedo wrote. “During the stop, the officers followed tactics and procedures designed to take suspects into custody in a manner that maximizes safety for both officers and suspects. While the tactics used were consistent with policy, the phrase in question is not consistent with the expectations of the Houston Police Department.”
Harris’ video is one of the latest examples of citizen-filmed footage of police officers making headlines. Earlier this month, bystanders recorded footage of a police officer arresting and choking 22-year-old Anthony Wall outside of a Waffle House.
[Photo: Screenshot of video by Denee Harris via Facebook]