University of Nevada-Reno police are investigating after an officer made an inappropriate joke to a student during a traffic stop.
Adam Garcia, the University of Nevada, Reno Police Chief, released a statement apologizing for a school police officer’s “inappropriate and offensive comments” made to, Kevin McReynolds, a graduate student and former football player during a traffic stop.
The body camera footage shows a traffic stop involving several students on North Virginia Street. In the video, one officer comments on how large one of the passengers, McReynolds, is. At this point, Officer Adam Wilson jokingly states he would shoot McReynolds rather than try to fight him.
via Reno Gazette-Journal:
“I never had an officer make such repugnant comments to a member of the community,” said Garcia, who’s served as police chief for 15 years. “The student felt threatened. He came forward, and to his credit, made the complaint. He felt uncomfortable about what was said and felt it was inappropriate, and I agree.
“In today’s social climate, these are not comments that an officer should be making. It does not reflect on me or the good men and women in this department who work so hard to include the community in our cornerstone of our policing philosophy.”
The body cam video was taken from Sgt. Dan Johnston, which showed the officers pull over a silver car that was carrying five students. Johnston claims they were pulled over because their car swerved toward him on the roadway.
After asking the driver if she had been drinking, the student admits to having a glass of wine earlier that night. The officers also allegedly found open alcohol cans in the car. At this point, Johnston asks all of the students to step outside the vehicle, telling some of the passengers to walk home because there were too many people in the car.
McReynolds, who stood at 6’2″ and weight 280 lbs as a high school senior, steps out of the car, which prompt officer Wilson to say the following:
“Holy sh*t, I’m glad you’re not fighting, you’re too big, That’s why I’m like, ‘I’m just going to shoot him if this goes sideways. F— that,” Johnston says.
University of Reno-Nevada police chief Adam Garcia, who has been chief for 15 years, released a full statement on the university’s website:
Two University Police officers conducted a traffic stop early Sunday morning in which inappropriate and offensive comments were made to a University graduate student by the officers. The comments were captured on a body camera.
I have seen the video and I find the language that was used to be disturbing, offensive and unacceptable. I condemn this reprehensible language, and again, offer my sincerest apologies to the graduate student for what occurred.
I am deeply concerned about the distress that was placed on the graduate student. I commend the student’s courage in reporting this incident, it was a brave thing to do. I’ve spoken personally to the graduate student, as has University President Marc Johnson. Both President Johnson and I have personally apologized to the graduate student for the comments that were made.
University Police and the University’s Title IX Office are investigating, following our personnel policies and procedures, and we are moving quickly to determine our most appropriate action. One of the officer’s has been placed on administrative leave and is not on campus.
The words that were used during the traffic stop are deplorable and have no place in the important interaction that must occur between members of our community and our Police Department. At a time of heightened fear and anxiety throughout the country and on campus, the impact of the statements was further compounded.
Officer Garcia said everything from minor punishment to termination is on the table at this point.
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