Cop Threatens to Put Couple's 2-Week-Old Baby in Protective Services Over a Traffic Stop
An African-American man, who recorded his traffic stop by an Ohio cop, believes the officer abused his power, especially when he threatened to place his two-week-old infant in Child Services, the Sandusky Register reports.
Last Wednesday evening, Andre Stockett was riding in the passenger seat of a car stopped by Sandusky Police Officer Christopher Denny. Initially, Denny said he pulled them over because the Ohio license plate on the car indicated that the driver Kathy Said had an expired driver's license. Said and Stockett's two-week-old infant was in the backseat. After Said, 30, gave Officer Denny her driver's license, Stockett, 34, turned on his cell phone camera.
Denny wrote in his police report of the incident later that he saw Said pick up Stockett outside of an apartment building and believed he was Jeremy Newell, a man wanted on felony warrants, so the license check appears to just have been a pretext for pulling the car over in the first place. When Office Denny asked Stockett to identify himself, Stockett refused. This is how the conversation went from there:
Stockett: “No, for what?”
Denny: “Cause you look exactly like a person that has warrants, OK?”
Stockett: “But that's not me.”
Denny: “OK, then you can ID yourself.”
Stockett: “I don't have to ID myself.”
Denny: “Yes, you do.”
Stockett: “I'm not answering none of your questions.”
During the seven-minute video, Officer Denny says he will use the K-9 dog to search the car if Stockett refuses to get out of the vehicle. Said is clearly heard becoming more upset as time passes and insists on stepping out of the vehicle. Stockett tells her not to step outside of the car. Around 5:24 in the video, you can hear Officer Denny threatening to take the baby from them, if Stockett refuses to exit the car.
“Then your children will go to Children's Services,” Officer Denny said.
"How?," Stockett replied. "How is my child going to Children's Services?"
Eventually, Said and Stockett stepped out of the car and were arrested on obstruction charges. No drugs were found in the vehicle. And though Said did have an expired Ohio driver's license, she was in possession of a valid driver's license from Michigan.
"It was so unprofessional,” Stockett said. “I tried to compose myself as long as I could....my girl takes the baby out of the car, and they search the carseat. I'm sitting in a police car, and I can't do nothing about that. He's two weeks old. I don't know where it goes from here.”
Sandusky police Assistant Chief Phil Frost said an investigation into the incident is underway. Stockett said he is taking the case to trial.
We can debate whether Stockett should have gotten out of the car or not (I think he should have because he wasn't going to win that battle and they both ended up leaving the vehicle anyway), but the officer's account is full of conflicting details.
For one, Officer Denny wrote in his police report that he first saw Said pick up Stockett from an apartment complex and suspected he looked like Nevell, the man wanted on warrants. Why, then, would he stop Said's car over an expired license if he originally believed a felon was in the car? And towards the end of video (6:10), Officer Denny says he stopped the car because the headlights were off. Which was it, exactly?
You can read the police report and compare it to the video below and see for yourself if there are any conflicts in the officer's reasoning behind why he stopped Said.