A police department in Wisconsin has claimed no wrongdoing in response to a viral video that shows one of its officers tossing a plastic baggie into a black man’s car while he was stopped for speeding.
The short cellphone video, posted to Facebook by user “La Savoo,” a native of Racine, Wi. and a music artist, according to his Facebook profile, shows a Caledonia police officer approach the stopped vehicle and throw something inside the open rear passenger doorway.
“What’s that? What did you just throw in here? I got you on camera, bro,” “La Savoo” says to the officer in the video.
“What’s what?” the officer responds.
“Hey bro you just threw that in here,” he says. The video cuts to the backseat showing the bag before cutting out.
The video quickly went viral across social media Saturday afternoon, with many condemning what looked to be a sketchy encounter.
But the department responded on Saturday evening, posting two body cam videos to its Facebook site, including that of the officer in question, showing moments before and after the same encounter when the bag was taken from a passenger.
The extended video shows the moment another officer hands his colleague a plastic bag, or “corner cut,” taken from the pockets of one of the two passengers who were in the car when it was stopped.
The officer walks up to the car and tosses it in, just as in “La Savoo’s” video.
In bodycam footage, the officer can be heard explaining why he threw the bag in the car. “Because it was in his pocket and I don’t feel like holding on to it,” he says.
Caledonia Chief of Police Christopher Botsch said that the empty corner tear did not contain any illegal drugs.
“The empty corner tear did NOT contain any illegal substance; however, this type of packaging is a common method for holding illegal drugs,” he said in a statement.
“The empty corner tear was turned over by the searching officer to another officer who was on scene. That officer turned it over to the officer who is seen on video. Since there were NO DRUGS in the corner tear, the officers discarded the empty packaging material in the vehicle. This is what was observed in the video.”
According to police, the vehicle was stopped for going 63 mph in a 45 mph zone. The driver was identified with her license, and the two rear passengers, who were not wearing seatbelts were asked to identify themselves.
“La Savoo” “lawfully declined to identify himself,” the department said. The driver and passengers were removed from the vehicle and searched, which revealed the plastic bag.
No arrests were made as a result of the stop, according to the department, however the driver of the vehicle received a speeding ticket.
The department said it is still reviewing over six hours of body cam footage from the four responding officers.