BELL GARDENS (CBSLA) — A man filming a routine traffic stop in southeast Los Angeles County said he feared for his life when a police officer pulled his gun out of his holster after asking him for identification.
Desmond Taylor, 30, told CBS2 News he was on his way to a job interview at Tesla when the driver of the car he was traveling in through Bell Gardens got pulled over for running a stop sign.
Taylor said he started filming the Bell Gardens police officer who stopped them with his cellphone. The officer then went over to Taylor’s side of the vehicle and asked him for identification.
“I need you to identify yourself so I could either cite you or warn you for not having your seat belt,” he tells Taylor.
“OK, let me look in my bag and see if I have my DMV paper, OK?” Taylor replies. “Go ahead,” the officer responds, as the camera begins pointing downward.
The officer continues, “Go ahead, and be careful how you […] grab in there,” as he is seen pulling his firearm out of his holster.
“Whoa,” Taylor says during the cross-talk. “Look , man. Put that gun down, brother.”
“Go ahead. Go ahead, look at it,” the officer says.
“Put the gun down, sir. Why you pulling your gun out, sir?” Taylor asks.
“No one’s pulling it out,” the officer says with the gun in his right hand at his side. “I’m just being prepared. I like living just like you, OK?”
“Sir! You gotta — dude, c’mon, man,” Taylor objects. “Be humane, bro.”
“Listen, I’m’a step back,” the officer concedes.
“Be humane, my man. I’m looking for my —”
“Go ahead. [unintelligible] Go ahead.”
“I’m looking for my — put your gun, dude — put your gun away.”
“I will put it away,” the officer says as he finally holsters his weapon.
“Let me look in my bag for my documents, please,” Taylor says as the officer leaves his hand on the holstered weapon.
Smiling, the officer then reverses the roles and lifts his arms to his sides to show he has nothing in his hands.
“Why you doing this, man?” Taylor asks.
Taylor told CBS2 that at that moment, he feared for his life, saying, “I saw my life flashing before me.”
To add to his frustration, the hour-long traffic stop made Taylor, a music producer, miss his interview.
“I don’t have anything on me. I don’t have any warrants, I have a clear background, and I was eventually let go, but the sad thing is it was a missed opportunity for me,” said Taylor. “It’s something that should’ve never happened, something that should’ve never escalated to this point.”
The officer never pointed the gun at Taylor, but he, nonetheless, feels the fact that the officer even pulled it out of his holster is wrong.
“This is not OK, you know?” Taylor told CBS2. “The actions by that police officer was not OK.”
The Bell Gardens PD told CBS2 they were beginning to review the case but had no comment Friday.
Taylor said he has hired an attorney and plans to file a lawsuit.