This is an old video that’s resurfaced on YouTube. But it’s instructive. While there may be extenuating circumstances involved in this confrontation with an LA County Deputy, as far as I can see, this is an egregious example of a trigger-happy cop. Trigger-happy if only in the sense that he’s got his booger hook on the bang switch before he needs to shoot.

One can only hope that there will be a full and fair investigation into this incident, and the officer involved will be disarmed until and unless he can learn proper gun safety.

Equally, when cops act this way, this is the kind of response you get from members of the community who don’t have much respect of their local police, whether fairly or unfairly.

Here’s the deal there’s is no law that says he can’t ask questions or refuse to deal with an officer who’s clearly being unreasonable. further more there was no probable cause for him to pull his weapon on him he clearly was looking for excuses to shoot an unarmed black man . just another example of a scared ass race soldier .

Oy.

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79 Responses to LA Cops Points Gun At PI, Finger on the Trigger

  1. uh he needs to get his booger hook off the bang switch. He shouldn’t have a gun. If he shot and killed that guy I would have zero issue convicting him of negligent homicide after seeing that video.

    ED:

    And none of these other morons are telling him to get his finger off the trigger.

    • Negligent Homicide?!?! No my friend that would be murder 2.

      He chose to deploy a tool of lethal force because he felt disrespected, then continued to keep his gun pointed at the man’s head after even the most remote justification had long expired.

      A fatal discharge in that scenario is 2nd Degree Murder.

      “I didn’t mean to throw him off the cliff your Honor, but he disrespected me so I forced him to stand on the edge and pushed him a couple times”.

  2. I saw this the other day, at face value it seems absolutely unbelievable for the cop to behave this way. The cop was in no way threatened but displayed deadly force, even to the extent of having his finger on the trigger of a Beretta 92 in single action mode….. Once again, at face value, this cop does not seem fit to ‘serve’ and should have faced some sort of disciplinary action. If a member of the public had done this, they would still be in jail (this video was from 2014) and would have been sued for goodness knows how much by the victim.

    • I’ve looked at this video and it seems clear that the Beretta 92 is in double action with the safety up. The trigger is forward and the hammer, while not totally visible, appears to be down. At no point does he cock the hammer manually What am I missing?

      • Hi Paul, I believe on a Beretta the safety is ‘sweep up to fire’, i.e it looks like the safety is disengaged at all times throughout the video. When I first watched this video a few days ago, it sounded like the cop cocked the pistol as he drew, a click can be heard at 2.25 which I assumed was him pulling back the hammer with his left thumb. At no point in the video could I actually see the hammer itself, whether it was forward or cocked.

        So, whether in SA or DA, he still had his finger on the trigger, the safety was off and you could see the muzzle quivering.

        Having said that, I would likely have been less belligerent than the driver, your rights are a moot point if you’re dead…….

        • I doubt he put it in SA… goes against everything learned to muscle memory in training for cops who are to never do such a thing (while cops are trained to put their finger on the trigger when shooting, so that muscle memory is there even if it is not being used appropriately).

        • You’re right, the safety sweep is up to make the gun “hot” so yes, the B was hot the entire time. However, in s/a the hammer is clearly visible until the gun is actually pointed at you. In the vid, the hammer is not visible and the trigger appears to be forward suggesting d/a.

        • Hanibal, covering someone with your finger on the trigger also goes against everything cops are taught. But here we are.

      • TAG really needs to update the article. Really scary that there is precedence that it OK for cops to have their fingers on the trigger if there is no clear threat.

        • Its a core principle of Statism: The State is always right, even when the State is wrong.

          If you were hurt by an agent of the State, its your fault because you should have known how to act in front of the State to avoid getting hurt.

          Individual cops don’t bother me – they’re as varying in personality and temperament as any other people group. However, the mentality that a cop is always right because he’s an agent of the State is absolutely disturbing..

      • UPDATE: (apparently the judge only allowed each side 4 hours for direct and cross examination of their witnesses)

        On April 20, 2015, Mr. Sheppard filed a civil lawsuit in federal court for violation of his constitutional rights, assault, battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and various other charges.

        The trial took place last week in Los Angeles September 13 through September 15 (2016) before the Honorable S. James Otero. After hearing the evidence and viewing a small portion of the video evidence provided by Mr. Sheppard, a jury of 8 persons found in favor of the sheriff’s department.

        Mr. Sheppard plans to appeal the verdict. He is currently working on the Suge Knight murder case and two high profile cases of deaths involving the Los Angeles Police Department—Ezell Ford who shot and killed in South L.A. in 2014 by the LAPD and Wakiesha Wilson who died while in the custody of the LAPD on Easter Sunday.

  3. What is he doing with his weak hand thumb? Is he planning on using it go go single action? It’s going to get a whack by the slide if he actually fires.

      • Didn’t we hear the cocking action to single action? Clearly this officer did nothing to de escalate. His authority was challenged, and with it, his ego. Finally, He lost face, tho he may not think so.

        • I never heard or saw any cocking action. Again, take a look at the trigger position, seems pretty clear he stayed in double action. Although I certainly agree that his weak side thumb would have been “bit” if he actually fired.

  4. That cop needs to be put down. He’s just a bully with a badge and it’s clearly obvious. He thinks he is the law and doesn’t know it very well.

    • “Put Down”, as in a vigilante killing?

      Your zeal to stop this injustice is understandable, but don’t be an idiot.

      Everyone’s all happy to skip the justice system and get straight down to curb stomping, right up until you and yours are the target of said mob violence.

  5. While the cop is clearly way out of line with his finger on the trigger, the passive-aggressive partial compliance by the PI was being (mis)interpreted as aggression.
    While there seems to be no excuse for the LEO’s escalation to deadly-force-at-the-ready, the PI was doing his best to escalate the situation: he was asked to stop moving his hands around but did not and instead started telling the LEO what to do.
    LEOs are trained to take and maintain control of an encounter because losing control is how they get killed.
    Passive and complete compliance is the best way to survive an agitated cop so you live to have you day in court.
    Hard to tell because the video starts late in the encounter, but I’ll bet if he’d complied completely early on the gun would never have been drawn.
    That said, if I was in that situation, I wouldn’t exit the vehicle with a gun pointed at me and finger on the trigger either: just a quarter inch move in the index finger and I could be dead. The LEO needs remedial firearms training: never put you finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot. I’ll bet that is similar to what happened in the MidWest a few weeks ago when the female officer shot an unarmed man.

      • The thing is, civil suits are based on real damages, not theoretical ones. So while it may be a violation of safety, unless it causes real harm (i.e. BANG) a civil suit really can’t address it.

    • Take and maintain control of the encounter? There shouldn’t have even been an encounter. Parking on the side of the street minding your own business is not a crime. The cop was on a power trip from the start.

      This isn’t even about race. This is just a vicious minded man with a gun and a badge who wakes up every morning thinking “Today’s the day! I wish a MF’er would today….just so I can blow his face off!”

      • Very near my neighborhood, police approaching a parked car with two men inside and querying them turned up two individuals with felony warrants for violent robbery resulting convictions on those counts plus solving a home invasion a community away weeks earlier.
        Drug dealers loiter in cars. gangsters loiter in cars. Sexual predators loiter in cars. Armed robbers loiter in cars.
        Unfortunately, so do PIs.
        Chalk it up to occupations hazard, explain right away you are a PI and be friendly and open in your compliance.
        Don’t hang around my neighborhood in your car or the police will question you. We want them too: it prevents crime and catches criminals.

        • Agree. Guy sitting in a car all day taking notes on who is coming and going is suspicious activity. If a call is made, the police will investigate, which is what happened.

        • “Don’t hang around my neighborhood in your car or the police will question you. We want them too: it prevents crime and catches criminals.”

          So does any form of random stop and frisk. Do it enough, and eventually you’ll “prevents crime and catches criminals.” Until sitting in a car becomes illegal, sitting in a car is not illegal. Hence no business of any cop. No matter how many halfwits call them to say they have just spotted someone sitting in a car.

      • As I understand it, refusing a legal order to exit the vehicle is an escalation. Attempting to take control of the situation is also escalating the situation.

        • Not sure you watched it but he couldn’t get out because the cop grabbed him. So I think you’re spinning it.

    • The whole conversation between the female officers is just… chilling.
      Basically the Police State in action – making up charges, seeing how they can stretch the law to get some more infractions on their quota, exploring all possible ways to vindictively punish this man because they don’t like him.

      At one point she says “Oh please let me tase this guy”, no doubt watching him argue with the officers from a dozen yards away.

      WESPECT MA AUTHORITAH!

      • Agreed. But I’d add gross. These women decided to (illegally?) search the vehicle (inside and out) for any possible infraction to teach Mr. Sheppard a lesson and also, justify Plunketts improper actions.

        To me the video shows Deputy Plunkett is scared, for no reasonable reason. Sheppards hands are in plain sight and no weapons. When his Sargent shows up, he takes his sweet ole’ time holstering his weapon. He needs to be retrained, at minimum, and re-evaluated for competency. In general, officers need to receive deescalation training bc, it appears officers first course of action to “oh you aren’t going to listen to me, you got questions” is to flex and escalate. Plunkett is freaking out and that’s dangerous and his fellow officers appear to be working hard (team work) to cover for him. This is why a significant portion of society has grown so suspicious of the police.

        BTW, I’m all for the honest officers out there but I loath the bad apples.

  6. This citizen’s civil rights were clearly violated in this incident.

    Write him a big check, paid first from the proceeds of liquidating the assets of that bloodthirsty savage with a badge and the several co-conspirators who did nothing but perpetuate the abuse once they arrived on scene.

    Then toss Officer Badass wannabe in federal prison for a decade, and Officers Go-Along-Get-Along in a cell for five years.

    Make this video part of the standard training for all officers in those jurisdictions.

    The saddest part is that the BLM bandits won’t take up this man’s cause. They have a legitimate example of police abuse here, but they’d rather push the hands up/don’t shoot charade of proven thugs.

    • It is kind of amazing that they fixate on completely fabricated “victims”, all the while ignoring ACTUAL occurrences of Police Abuse.

      …but then critical analysis is incompatible with “Feelz”.

    • You also have to go up the tree, and give 5 to at least three levels of the backmarkers’ superiors. Ideally further, all the way to the police chief and mayor. Then, to be on the safe side, get rid of the rest of the lot as well. Just recognize it as the cancer symptom it is. While massive doses of chemo may be overkill in any given instance, erring on the side of ripping out anything that just may be malignant, is the preferred approach once cancer symptoms are as obvious as here.

      Then, if people want some sort of professional safekeepers, deputize civilians. That way, you avoid all the “more equals” issues, that is the inevitable result of relying on a standing army and/or police force.

  7. It seems to be accepted that if you don’t obey every command of the brown shirts you deserve a beat down at the very least. America

    • You’re being silly. You really must comply with lawful orders. Not complicated. If you’re ordered out of the car, it’s a legal order.

      • Yeah, but pardon me if I’m kinda slow, there. My gun rests directly under my seat belt latch, that officer and I are going to have a very defined discussion before I reach down to it, and he needs to back away from me first. Only one story told, after he kills me, I reached for my gun and he was forced to shoot me in the head 18 times.

      • The Oklahoma cop that raped 13 women while on duty did so by pulling them over, or by simply approaching their vehicle while they were stopped, often for no obvious infraction.
        At what point was his activity unlawful? The second he detained them. That’s even before he unlawfully ordered them out of their car. That it was unlawful just wasn’t proven until years later, after he raped 13 women.
        If someone is acting like a threat, treat them like a threat.

      • Statism 101: The agent of the State is always right, even when he is wrong, because he is an agent of the State.

        If you define moral right and wrong solely by the criteria of “Is it approved by the state?”, I would suggest you take a moment to stop and recognize that you share that rationale with those that forced the Jews into gas chambers.

  8. sadly unprofessional policing. What a waste of law enforcement time and resources. along with petty vindictiveness.  I think the most disturbing thing about this is the cold and petty willingness to take a life .  clearly the deputy was creating a situation where he could shoot and kill another human being for nothing more than being annoying.  I life really that cheap to them?  

  9. The cop’s from Los Angeles. I wouldn’t expect anything better. Tyrant laws. Tyrant cops. Tyrant legislators. Awful place. The only good thing there is the weather.

  10. California Sheriffs… the only place I’ve ever seen a cop carrying a freaking JENNINGS 9MM as a service weapon… I’m totally serious, happened about a decade ago when I was an OTR trucker. I happened to be at the depot when a few of them were crawling over a suspicious load of furniture or something and one of them was carrying a Jennings on his hip.

  11. Don’t like finger on the trigger. But I’m under the impression that an order to exit the vehicle is a legal order. And, indeed, the whole process is the PI attempting to take control of the situation from the police, also a very dangerous act. Would be useful to see what happened prior to the beginning of the video, but what we have is what we have.

    But, yes, furtive movements get you shot. That’s because furtive movements get police shot. Not to get all “Left of the Bang,” but the attempt by the PI to dominate the situation should have set off suspicion and it did.

      • Absolutely nothing, the PI was tactically in the right here. The officer was controlling the hand he would have used to open the door, while the officer was already drawn. The officer was holding his pistol at his side.
        So the officer is controlling the near hand, and the PI would have had to reach across his own body and turn toward the officer with his dominant hand to open the door. A total set up for an execution.

        • A total setup for an execution

          Sadly, whether consciously on the officer’s part or not, this is absolutely true.

    • Bryan,

      As far as we can tell from the video, the deputy had no reasonable, articulable suspicion that the man in the car had committed or was about to commit a crime. Therefore the deputy had no legal authority to detain the man and command him to step out of his car. Remember, exercising your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and not answer questions is not, I repeat, is NOT a reasonable, articulable suspicion of a crime.

      The man was legally in the right to refuse to exit his vehicle. Unfortunately, deputy power-trip had other ideas and this encounter ended up being way more dangerous than it should have been. In that situation the deputy was a violent criminal attempting to either falsely imprison or kidnap the man in the car. When a violent criminal has the drop on you, there are no good options. Your choices are to either comply and hope for the best, or wait for your moment to counterattack. In this case the man in the car did not do a very good job of complying with his criminal attacker and almost contributed to his untimely death.

      • Uncommon_sense, I actually think you are mistaken and that an order to exit the vehicle is a lawful order, with which you must comply. Same thing with, “hands up.” And the difference between a kidnaping and an arrest is nothing more than the legality of the act. I don’t defend the whole finger-on-the-trigger thing, but it isn’t obvious that the stop or the order was not lawful.

        As for whether the police was right to approach and investigate, it seems that he was clearly correct to do so, if the PI was sitting on the street making notes and so on. Surveillance is suspicious activity.

        • Bryan,

          “Surveillance is suspicious activity.”

          I do not share your opinion. Furthermore, the man in the car may have simply been bird watching or pulled over to look at a map or talk on his cell phone or was writing down baseball scores that he heard on his car radio.

          More importantly, surveillance is NOT a crime. Therefore, the man’s alleged surveillance activity does not satisfy the standard of a reasonable, articulable suspicion that the man had just committed or was about to commit a crime.

          “Suspicious” activity does not empower a law enforcement officer to detain anyone. If a law enforcement officer is concerned about “suspicious” activity, that officer’s lawful authority is limited to further observing the subject at a distance or engaging in a consensual encounter. An officer does NOT have lawful authority to detain anyone until there is a reasonable suspicion that the person of interest committed a crime.

    • I agree Bryan. LEOs are under no obligation to martyr themselves.
      People they encounter who are resistant to their commands are usually the ones that act violently eventually. People who challenge the LEO verbally or give them orders often take the next step to physical resistance or assault and battery.
      You learn this in just a short time “on the street”. Most of you talk tough, but were you in the officer’s shoes with your life potentially on the line at any second, you’d at least have pulled a taser or pepper spray. The more the PI resisted verbally, the more concerned the LEO got and I can understand that.
      Detainee to LEO:”I won’t shoot you, honest, trust me! Just let me fumble around with my hands and don’t check me for weapons even though I am dissing you from square one” As if.

    • There are bad cops and this guy is borderline from what we can see (we don’t see all of it). But the PI was telling the cop what to do and that is non-compliance with lawful orders. Your one story (there are many) doesn’t prove every cop is bad, every detainee is right, and no lawful order is justified, yet that is exactly what you are implying. Bah!

      • You made all that up in your head by the way, and the PI was in the right and the cop was in the wrong. How can you possibly defend his actions?

        • Because life is shades of gray not black and white but I spell it out for you:
          The cop was wrong:
          Ordinarily, the cop should not have drawn with finger on trigger without physical resistance indicating intent to do harm
          However, the PI was just as wrong:
          Lawful orders (keep your hands still on the wheel or dash and don’t move) are not just suggestions.the rule of law is useless if they are.
          Refusing to comply and then telling the cop what to do is a big bright shiny red flag indicating escalation of threat.
          Both parties should have kept cooler heads.
          I would have tasered him the third time he declined to keep his hands on the wheel as ordered and kept fumbling around on his person because I’d be worried he had a knife or firearm. I would not have draw a service pistol and pointed it at him though.

        • Danuilushka Ozera, you are making a lot of assumptions about the nature of this officer that are contrary to the video. I don’t see why you would assume immediate deference and compliance would have helped the PI. Considering the officer’s attitude and his disregard for standard procedures, it may be that the aggression displayed by the PI is what kept him from being assaulted by the officer. Bullies, like this officer, are looking for a victim, and the PI’s refusal to be one might be what kept him alive.
          After all, the only narrative we know for sure is that the cop was threatening the PI with imminent death, the PI didn’t back down, and both of them lived to tell the tale.

    • ..Side with Cops

      I didn’t know you could side with a group of people that aren’t on one side.

      Cops are as varying in beliefs, personality, and temperament as any other people group on the planet. Trying to imply that they’re all the same and all out to get us is just moronic. Real tinfoil hat stuff.

      My advice to you is the same as any other misguided cop-blocker:
      1. Get off the internet more often.
      2. Go outside and meet some real cops in real life (traffic citations don’t count).
      3. Apply the same standard of behavior to cops as you do to yourself.
      (IE: “ermagurd, dat f*cking prick cop said a bad word to me!”)

  12. I see a reckless endangerment lawsuit here. They pointed a gun at him because of a vehicle code violation? Or was it because of the melanin content of his skin?

  13. so if the man had his hands on the steering wheel and he suddenly sneezed and instinctively covered his mouth, he would have been shot, by this Moron Cop. Personally i would comply with all commands, even if i did not agree. Being alive is better than being right and dead.

    • TTAG earlier reported on state police abuse of authority in CT, where three officers, all recorded on camera, tried to contrive charges to ruin a law abiding protestor. They were caught on camera. As yet I don’t what sanctions, if any, were taken against the officers. The CT case is in no way similar to this one save that the LA officer and his female counterpart begging to taze the PI seemed, understandably to many viewers, to be abusing rauthority. Equally, upon reviewing the video, I couldn’t help but think that the PI, had he answered questions directly and courteously, would not have set off Purcell’s sense of control , authority, and ego. Pro Second people, many of us anyway, have libertarian streaks; many of us rightly are concerned about state abuse of power. Am pleased this TTAG article elicited so many responses. Rogue, heavy badge officers need to be culled. Apparently the jury in this case didn’t think it appropriate to find the LEO or his Department guilty of violation of the PI’s rights. .That doesn’t make it right. It is simply, and perhaps cynically, is how the system functions. But let’s not forget that that there are many ethical and professional LEOs “out there” who do their job honestly , and without abusing authority. I have known many in my decades on this mortal coil.

  14. Booger hook on the bang switch, might be more of a problem with LA County than
    we think. I live in Southern California, and have taken a number of firearm training classes with my favorite school. In one particular class involving shooting from a moving vehicle, we had a couple of Deputies that were constantly lectured by the staff
    for just this problem. Didn’t instill confidence in me knowing they were on the same line.

  15. A call of service for a suspicious man in a car gives the Deputy Probable Cause to be there. The man was given an order to exit the vehicle. He was being lawfully detained and not free to leave until the Deputy could investigate whether a crime was or had been committed. Immediately crying for a watch commander (who would never roll out to a un-coop civilian) and disobeying the command was not anyway to act in the situation. Someone should not be moving there arms around when you are given clear orders not to. Of course the Deputy is suspicious, the guy in the car was already uncooperative which is only going to heighten the suspicion of the Deputy. If you think the Deputy is in the wrong, you are recording the situation. Obey his orders, get a lawyer and go after him and the department in court. WITH THAT BEING SAID. The Deputy was in complete violation of one of the 4 basic safety rules and needs to be called out on it. He could have killed him unjustifiably based on complete negligence. Disgusting display of discipline on his part.

  16. This is all from a department that threatened an FBI agent at her home and beat up someone who was at the jail to visit a family member. They also have a long history of abuse in the county jails. New trial for the former sheriff and could get 20 yrs.

    • When I lived in Los Angeles County, I had to deal with the LASD on a semi-regular basis. Got to see them in action at several gun ranges. Oh, the safety violations I regularly observed. It was when I lived in LA that I really lost any illusions that law enforcement are “trained professionals” where guns are concerned.

      The entire LASD must have an interview/recruiting questionnaire that goes like this:

      1. Are you an asshole?
      – Yes: Welcome to the LASD! We’re looking for men and women like you! Free donuts for all!
      – No? We can train you to be a world-class asshole. If you’re really good, we’ll give you free donuts!

      2. Do you want to be an asshole with a gun?
      – Yes: You’re our man, after you train at the county jails so you think of everyone as a con, we’ll put you on the streets to be a professional asshole with a gun.
      – No: Well, we have desk jobs so you can help other people in the department be assholes with guns.

      The one encounter I remember as positively Kafkaesque was one where I was coming off Highway 14 at 0300, coming home from a late night at the office. I get off 14, taking the Newhall Avenue exit, and as I’m driving through Newhall, I pick up a tail. I can see it’s a cop car, so I’m paying attention to my speed precisely.

      They light me up, pull me over, haul me out, bend me over the hood, and demand to know “why were you driving so slow? Are you drunk?”

      “Uh, no. I was driving slowly because I saw you behind me.”

      “Why would that make you drive slow? What did you have to hide?!”

      “Uh, I dunno. Avoiding a speeding ticket? How am I hiding anything by driving a mile under the speed limit?”

      “You’re drunk!”

      “I’ll take a sobriety test right now, if you’d like.”

      “You were trying to evade us!”

      “By following the traffic laws to the letter and driving a mile under the speed limit? Really?

      “Quit mouthing off!”

      The encounter ended with the inside of my truck trashed and torn apart – no doubt looking for shiny objects to steal. They didn’t find any – because I was already used to making sure my vehicle was devoid of shiny objects to avoid attracting the attention of the dazzling urbanites in downtown Pasadena, where I worked.

      It was also at that point I came to realize that law enforcement agencies recruit from the left side of the IQ distribution curve. The next day, I talked to their CO. He wasn’t a prize in the courtesy or IQ department either, he just had more years of being an asshole to advance in rank.

  17. Welcome to Commiefornia. They hate guns so much they let their cops wave them in your face. Even the Sgt couldnt get that trigger happy yahoo to deescalate, he looked like a deer in the headlights, shaking and squirming and sparks coming out his ears. Guy announced he was a PI and they still treated him like dirt. So much for professional courtesy. Notice the female cops didnt pull their guns, if there was a threat they would have. Also notice they didnt intervene. Scary stuff and no reason for it except US vs THEM ingrained mentality. This crap starts at the top.

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