Milwaukee, WI – A viral video of a traffic stop filmed by a passerby is causing racial tensions and unrest in the Milwaukee community despite the fact it was a total misrepresentation of what actually occurred (video below).
Milwaukee County Acting Sheriff Richard Schmidt called a press conference on Sunday evening to dispel rumors that one of his deputies had made a racial remark during a traffic stop near 6th and Walnut earlier that day, WITI reported.
Sheriff Schmidt said he had reviewed all the video footage from the incident and that the inappropriate racial remark was made by a bystander and not by one of his deputies.
The incident began when a maroon car sped by Milwaukee County deputies who had just finished responding to a man with a knife call, and the deputies took off after it.
The maroon car led police on a chase that reached 80 mph at times before the driver finally stopped, WITI reported.
In the video that has circulated on social media, officers conducted a felony traffic stop on the vehicle, coming out with their guns drawn.
“Why you got your gun pointed at me though?” the driver of the maroon car yelled as he held his hands in the air out the window of his car.
“Because you’re not white,” a man off-camera yelled in response.
“They just want to kill him for no reason,” another woman piped up.
But the sheriff defended his deputies completely.
First, he explained the felony traffic stop and why the officers had drawn their weapons.
"When you're going to drive crazy, when you're going to put the public at risk, you have to expect the police have to protect themselves. They can't just go out there and walk up to a car and not know if they're going to get shot or not. They've got to protect themselves from the public," Sheriff Schmidt told reporters.
Then the sheriff went into great detail about what exactly he had seen on the videos he reviewed.
"I have gone through the videos myself. I continue to watch them and I am thoroughly convinced that none of my officers were involved in making any unprofessional or racially-motivated type statement,” Sheriff Schmidt said.
“There is no cause that any of one our officers involved in this incident made any such statement, and the officer right here saw who said it,” the sheriff said and pointed. “You’re more than welcome to ask him. Folks, look at those videos. I’ve looked at three videos now on this incident. You cannot tell who said it. Fortunately we did see who said it.”
He went on to say that he had contacted the head of the Black Panthers in their area to try to quell the growing discontent in the city, and that person told him “brother, it’s going bad. You gotta do something now.”
The sheriff said that the suspect’s father had arrived on the scene and been none too pleased with his son’s behavior. But that the incident had ended with the dad and the suspects shaking hands with the deputies, WITI reported.
“That’s how this ended. Not with any ill will. It ended perfectly good," Sheriff Schmidt said.
The sheriff said the driver and his passenger were cited and released, WITI reported.
"Nobody injured. Nobody shot. Hands shook at the end of the day. It's not about racial bias. It's about doing the right thing, staying safe," he said.
The sheriff called the matter a “public safety issue” that had nothing to do with race.
"I watched one video from an individual who stopped and you hear some regards as to white and black and so forth. This is what we need to get a hold of in society. This isn't about racial issues, even though people want to make it racial," Sheriff Schmidt told reporters.
Watch video of the traffic stop here below:
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