Heated police exchange in AL goes viral; investigation underway

Updated: Jun. 4, 2019 at 7:55 AM CDT
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - An encounter with a Decatur police officer captured on cellphone video is going viral. It shows a verbal exchange between two men and an officer. And it has many questioning what are your rights versus an officer’s.

The video has been shared online thousands of times and has even been picked up by several blogs across the country.

This video is now the center of an internal affairs investigation.

[READ MORE: Decatur police respond to heated officer exchange that went viral]

A statement provided by the Decatur Police Department on Wednesday states the officers were responding to the call of a man holding a handgun to another man’s head.

The officers later discovered the men were shooting a music video, and the gun owner did have a valid permit to carry the weapon.

The man in the video says the officer “can’t touch” him then asks to speak to his supervisor. The officer replies with “I am the supervisor.”

The man then asks, “What was your name and badge number again?”

The officer replies “**** you!...**** you is my name!”

Chief of Police Nathaniel Allen provided the following statement on Wednesday:

"Upon arrival, officers located the men matching the description provided by the passerby. The officers detained the men to investigate. During the course of that investigation, officers discovered that one of the men was in possession of a handgun.

In speaking to the men, the officers verified what the passerby had observed and determined that the two men had been staging footage for use in a music video – during which one of the men did pose the handgun at the other person – however there was no criminal intent or malice. It was determined that the man who was in possession of the handgun had a valid permit to carry the firearm.

During the encounter, one of the responding officers demonstrated an unprofessional demeanor and conduct that was unbecoming of a Decatur Police Officer. The conduct displayed by the officer was not acceptable and is being addressed. Because this is a personnel matter currently under review, the department will not release any additional information.

We expect our officers to conduct themselves in a professional and caring manner. We appreciate the Decatur community’s ongoing support for the Decatur Police Department, and we will continue to work to maintain the trust and respect of our citizens."

In these moments, lawyers we spoke with say you do have the right to question and ask for badge numbers.

Additionally, officers have the right to search and briefly detain you under a Terry frisk/Law. It’s commonly known as stop-and-frisk.

WAFF 48 News will stay on top of this and push for clarity from both sides.

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