UNR Police Conduct Caught on Video Called “Offensive, Disturbing, Unacceptable”

UNR Police Stop

Note: This article contains language that may not be suitable for everyone.

UPDATE (10/3/2017): UNR deleted the video. Read a new story here: http://thisisreno.com/2017/10/unr-deletes-video-offensive-police-conduct/

The University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) is condemning the actions of one of its police officers because of language captured in a video of an encounter with students.

UNR Police Director Adam Garcia said he found statements made on video by the UNR officer “disturbing, offensive, and unacceptable.”

Watch the video below.

Two police officers stopped a graduate student early Sunday morning on Sept. 24, 2017 (the video identifies the stop occurring on September 10). The stop was captured on a police body camera. It shows five people in a car getting pulled over for swerving.

They get out of the car, explain their situation, and are joking with the officers.

“Holy shit, I’m glad you’re not fighting, you’re too big,” the officer said about one of the students, a former UNR football player, who is African American.

“I’m going to shoot him if he goes sideways,” another officer jokingly says of the student, while laughing. “He’s fucking huge.”

In speaking about a previous stop, unrelated to this incident, the officer said, “I should’ve fucking Tasered that kid. Fuck him.

“That guy had it coming. I’ll shoot you if I have to,” he said later during the encounter. “They’re both country fucks.”

The officer was not identified, but he has been placed on leave.

Garcia issued the following statement:

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 officers 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.

In an effort to be open and transparent, the University is releasing the video.

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About Bob Conrad 823 Articles
Bob Conrad is proprietor and co-founder of ThisisReno. He manages ThisisReno and Conrad Communications, LLC, his marketing communications consulting company (disclosure: client work includes projects funded by grants through UNR) and is an adjunct faculty member at Truckee Meadows Community College. He is a contributor to Reno Public Radio.

4 Comments

  1. Yes laid him off because of what was said? That is utterly ridiculous, someone is being a wimp and that’s putting it nicely, you thought the black guy was offended and wanted to cover your butt, people like who ever made this decision are going to make it so nobody will want to be a policeman, then they will switch over to robotic police officers, bunch of wussys.

  2. Since I attend the University of Nevada, I got the email from President Johnson about this, so I watched the video.

    What a total NOTHING-Burger. From the reaction of “officials” I thought the cops were caught beating the Hell out of the students, but all that happened was a little strong language.

    Most of us are glad to hear a few rough words from a cop, in exchange for not getting a summons or getting arrested. Back when I was a teen, the local University cop had full law enforcement powers, but he got much more done by telling those who were straying from good judgment how they were going to shame their families and the school, followed by an admonition that he knew that the young man or woman could do better in the future.

    In this recent stop, the officers prevented a potential problem. Sure they used language that might offend the ladies at the Daughters of the American Revolution’s afternoon tea, but nothing was uttered that was (perhaps unfortunately) part of daily parlance here in Reno.

    Sure, I want polite cops who are pure as wind driven snow, but I would much rather have officers use a little salty language and offer stern warnings, than to issue citations and arrest our students for every infraction. Our young collegians are nearly all adults and should be held accountable, but the reality is that they are all still learning (as we all are) and I trust our police to use good judgment and give stern words (when they find it best) instead of creating more students with arrest records or DUIs.

    I have had my life damaged by mistakes made by police officers. For example, I was arrested in Vegas when I ran off some burglars who were breaking into my 90 year-old neighbor’s condo. I was exonerated, but the record of the arrest is all over the web and has killed many career opportunities because people presume guilt if you are arrested; even in absurd cases like mine. However, I do not hold all police officers responsible for the errors made by a few. In the grand scheme of things I still think our best approach is to back our men in blue. Their jobs are difficult in the best of times and we don’t need to nit-pick every detail of every traffic stop. Nobody was shot, nobody was beaten, nobody got a ticket or was arrested. Some young people who could have been headed into real trouble were stopped and given a reality-check along with some stern words. That is all.

    The only thing left to say to our University Police Officers is, “Thanks for serving and carry on!”

    • J Tyler, What a crappy deal about the break-in. But you’re right about cops caught up in a non-problem problem. I was not encouraged to use “street language,” but being a boy and man, I was expected to hear it without whining, unless it was used with harmful intent. The thing I noticed here was rough language in front of women, which I try to avoid. And have you spoken to a lawyer about trying to get that Las Vegas thing expunged?

  3. I two was greatly Disturbed and disappointed by the incidents captured on this video and I commend both the student and the administration for coming forward with this & now performing what we hope to be a complete investigation.

    These are examples of the exact reason that video cameras and audio recording is absolutely necessary and the right thing to do !

    A no-tolerance policy should be enacted if it hasn’t been already and an example must be set !

    The citizens of not just Nevada but America are demanding this especially in today’s climate !

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