North Braddock police give their aspect of viral TikTok video – WPXI
NORTH BRADDOCK, Pennsylvania – A TikTok video of a traffic stop that happened last year received millions of views after it was recently posted on social media, leading to death threats against officers.
But North Braddock Police say more of the story was not shown.
“We got between 50 and 100 calls a day,” said Matt Titmus of the police. “We got a call from someone in Los Angeles who threatened the police with death.”
All because of a cell phone video of a traffic stop that happened in September last year. Police said they stopped an 18-year-old black man for speeding, found an open container of alcohol and smelled marijuana.
“One of the officers immediately recognized the smell of marijuana and just asked him and he was very forthcoming and said, ‘Yeah, I have a little bag of weed’ and they got him out of the vehicle to get it,” said Titmus. “This was a non-violent action, this was a routine traffic control that didn’t raise any eyebrows.”
Until the police announced it was posted on TikTok last week and received millions of views.
“Obviously it arouses curiosity on our part, the body camera video was taken. Me and the boss both checked it and checked it against our department’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) guidelines to make sure the sergeant in question was not violating any of his duties, ”said Titmus.
The video features a caption stating that three police officers have surrounded a young black man. Police said a woman arrived at the end of the traffic control when she tried to speak to the man they stopped.
Local officials told the woman that she was illegally parked and that she could be cited, and at one point during the recording, the woman pointed out that the officer had covered his badge.
“It’s common for people to wear an outer body armor because it’s easiest to put your hand somewhere without trying to look too intimidating,” said Titmus.
Police said they did not arrest the 18-year-old.
“Instead of criminally accusing him of what he did that day, which just happened to be a bad decision on his part, he got a simple traffic report and let him go about his business,” said Titmus.
North Braddock Police said community members record 75% of their traffic controls on their cellphones, but now others are stressing to do it safely, saying this particular incident could pose a danger to others.
“We only encourage the public if they feel compelled to videotape it. We invite them that they only need to do so from a safe and reasonable distance,” said Titmus.
Commenting on the video, Pennsylvania State Conference NAACP President Kenneth Huston said, “We saw nothing in the video to confirm or substantiate the position of the Pennsylvania State Conference NAACP at this point. We continue to fight for civil rights for all citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and we have not received any notification. “
Black Lives Matter Pittsburgh & SouthWestern Pennsylvania local member Tanisha Long said that while the video may have appeared last year, it “is still representative of the experience many black men and women go through when they walk minor traffic violations are stopped ”.
“After a bystander clarified that the officer’s actions had been recorded, the officer used intimidation tactics to threaten the woman with legal and financial consequences for exercising her right to be recorded. It is important that we recognize this clear abuse of power and continue to speak out against it and press for consequences for this type of behavior, ”said Long.
© 2021 Cox Media Group