After being pulled over during a routine traffic stop in San Dimas, California, a woman was caught on police body camera footage verbally abusing an officer in a racist tirade. The woman was stopped last month after a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy allegedly observed her using a cell phone while driving.
The officer can be seen approaching the driver’s window as the woman, who is blurred in the video, begins recording the encounter. “I pulled you over because…” the officer begins, but is cut off by the woman: “Because you’re a murderer.”
“Yes, I started to record because you’re a murderer,” she adds, alleging the officer is threatening her and her son. “You’re always gonna be a Mexican, you’ll never be white, you know that?”
“You can’t be on your cell phone while you’re driving,” the officer is heard saying before requesting to see the woman’s identification. “It’s at my apartment […] I am perfectly legal and I am a teacher,” the woman replies. The incident escalates when the woman signs the traffic violation and calls the officer a “Mexican racist.”
“Here you go Mexican racist,” the woman says as she hands the signed document back to the officer. “You are always going to be a Mexican. You will never be white. You know that, right?”
Since it was first shared on Twitter on Monday, the video has been viewed over 2.5 million times. “A Latino LASD deputy sent me his bodycam video of a woman claiming to be a teacher launching into a racist tirade against him when he pulled her over in San Dimas,” wrote Melugin in the tweet.
Those who watched the two-minute video mostly praised the officer’s calm demeanor. L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he was “appalled” by the video, but commended his deputy for staying professional. “This Deputy exemplifies the core values of our Department, his demeanor during this traffic stop is just an example of professionalism and patience our LASDHQ Deputies have,” Villanueva tweeted on Monday.
“She claims to be a teacher. I’m not so sure where she is teaching… but if she represents her profession, is that an indictment on her profession and the caliber of people?” he later said.
“You have one incident like George Floyd….but some people want to label the entire profession as if everyone was a Derek Chauvin. It shows you that bigotry, racism comes in all colors and all ages and that’s proof of that right there. If you want to call all of the deputies’ murderers, unfortunately, you are doing the exact same thing you’re accusing other people of doing against your own kind.”
The officer in question has reportedly been with the force for 14 years, and he told the station that he recorded the interaction on both his official department-issued bodycam and a personal one he purchased to “protect himself from false allegations.”
According to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, the woman in the video called Internal Affairs and filed a harassment complaint against the deputy immediately after the incident. According to the department, the woman has a history of making false claims against deputies.