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.
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.