Rockford, IL — A group of teens were pulled over by a gang of police officers from the Rockford Illinois Police Department, held at gunpoint, and the infuriating incident was captured on video. We use the term “gang” because the cops were dressed in plains clothes with some even wearing identity disguising gang-style bandannas. The stop resulted in no arrests, not even a ticket. Despite the threat of deadly force, the Rockford police department has refused to answer why the cop drew the gun or reported a slap on the wrist for any of the officers involved in the stop.
It has been six months since these innocent teens had their lives threatened by crazed cops and not a single person has been held accountable.
From video the teens recorded, it is clear the driver pulled over and was patiently waiting for the cops to approach the driver’s side window.
However, instead of approaching the driver and explaining why he was being pulled over, the officer who took the lead demanded the rear door be opened. It appears he told the passenger, “Open the door or I’ll shoot…” although the word shoot was muffled.
From what we are able to ascertain at this point, the officers violated the rights of the passengers not to be illegally stopped. Then they knocked the phones out of the hands of each of the occupants in the vehicle keeping them from recording the police contact, a clear violation of their First Amendment rights to record police interaction.
“Come out, put your phone down, brother,” the officer says.
“Why?” Rivera replies.
“Because I asked you to put the phone down,” says the officer.
“Why? I can record,” Rivera protests.
“Do you want to put it down or do you want me to knock it down?” the officer responds, as the phone falls to the ground.
Erik Rivera, one of the passengers, uploaded the surviving video to Facebook and he says the officers searched the entire vehicle, even looking behind car’s brake lights.
Rivera says he and the lead officer have a history. The young man says the cop once knocked him off his 4-wheeler breaking his nose while giving him a gangland style beating. In a Facebook post, Rivera describes the history he has with the lead officer seen in the video (below).
This is the same cop that arrested me a year and a half ago, the same cop that hit me off my four wheeler and proceeded to beat me and break my nose.
Rivera reported the abuse of rights to the Rockford Scanner, a local newspaper. From the Facebook post, a description of what happened on April 10th is given.
Apparently this is the protocol the Rockford Illinois Police Department enforces to pull people over? I feel like we’re being harassed and threatened…I feel as if we have no rights.
Rivera says he and his friends weren’t doing anything wrong when they were pulled over.
They had no reason to pull us over. They didn’t ask for anything at all.
The young man also claims the cops engaged in a sort of stop and search without a warrant and with no probable cause.
They never told us the reason we were pulled over, and to top it off they did not ask for consent to search the car.
He says the cops searched the car without a warrant and he questioned the behavior of all the cops involved.
In the past few months, reporters with WREX have sought information pertaining to the stop and the department has instead circled the wagons and denied FOIA requests and a direct order from the city to release the documentation.
The department claimed there was an ongoing investigation — despite no one in the car being charged — as the reason for refusing to release the information. They later claimed a man had been arrested in connection with a murder and now that was the reason they couldn’t release the information. That man was Preston Scott and he wasn’t even in the car the day of the stop, nor was he part of any active investigation when the stop took place.
It seems that the department is trying to cover their mistake and protect a bad cop who pulled a gun on innocent teenagers.
As you watch the video below, it is no wonder people get scared when they see the red and blue lights in their rear view mirror.