Update: One of the men Boynton Beach Police pulled over, Jack Naubert, is filing a lawsuit against the BBPD. Naubert's attorney, Ken Lemoine, says the lawsuit alleges false arrest and civil rights violations. Naubert is the one in the video who is specifically threatened by the officer.
Lemoine has sent the police department a letter notifying them of the lawsuit.
"We are in receipt of Attorney Lemoine's letter of intent to sue," Stephanie Slater, PIO for Boynton Beach Police Department, told New Times via email. "As a result, we respectfully decline any further comment on the matter."
Original post: Boynton Beach Police have released a statement clearing the officer who pulled a gun on a suspect who was recording him on a cell-phone camera last year.
The video, which was shot in 2013 but has gone viral on social media sites recently, shows Boynton Beach Police officers pulling over a car with four young black males inside. One of the men in the car begins to record the officers during the traffic stop.
After a few moments of speaking with the men in the car, the officers seem to become agitated at the lack of cooperation, and things get heated.
One of the officers, Sgt. F. Danysh, asks the men where they live and asks the occupants in the car for their identification.
"I'm about to start recording this shit," one of the men in the car says to Danysh. "Yeah, start recording it," Danysh says. "Shut that phone off right now," he then says.
"I have rights, I have rights, sir," the occupant responds. "I'm recording your ass. What the fuck you gonna to do?"
The driver of the car then asks Danysh, "What's your badge number, sir?"
Danyish gives the man his number.
"What's your name, sir?" the man then asks.
Danyish then suddenly slaps something out of driver's hand and angrily tells him to get out of the car three times. When the driver exits the vehicle, Danysh grabs him, throws him to the ground, and cuffs the driver with a knee to his back.
That's when the second officer comes thundering in with his weapon drawn and pointed at the other occupants in the car.
"Let me see your hands!" he commands, pointing his weapon at the person sitting in the passenger side. "Put your hands on the thing!"
The officer then says, "Keep them right there. I'll fucking put a round in your ass so quick."
When the suspect with the camera phone expresses shock over the officer's threat, the officer looks at the camera, walks over to the back seat, and opens the door. That's when the video is abruptly cut off.
According to an arrest report of the incident, the officers were apparently in the area conducting an investigation of a "violent home invasion robbery." The report says they were on an active search for a suspect described as a "thin, tall, black male wearing black clothing."
The description happens to match the driver of the vehicle.
The report says the officers spotted a Toyota Camry driving slowly about two square miles from where the apparent home invasion took place, with four men inside acting like they were trying to conceal themselves.
The report also describes a strong odor of marijuana in the car.
According to the arrest report, the two men who were eventually arrested, Marvin Francois and Jack Noubert, were acting nervous and refused to explain to the officers where they were coming from. The report also says the men in the car were acting nervous, though they seemed to be more defiant than nervous, according to the video.
The men were placed under arrest on obstruction-without-violence charges.
When the video hit the web last month, it immediately went viral, garnering almost 10,000 views.
On Wednesday, the Boynton Beach Police Department put out a statement on its Facebook page explaining that an investigation revealed the officers were justified in their actions.
"We are aware of the video from a Feb. 4, 2013, traffic stop that is being circulated via social media," the statement reads. "This incident was thoroughly investigated, and based on the totality of the circumstances, the investigation revealed the officers' actions to be justified."
The statement goes on to ask the public to "educate themselves with the facts of this case" and to not use the video as an excuse to rile up tensions.
"Too often, people draw strong and definitive conclusions based upon clips of video and information," the statement adds. "That's not how this complex world works. The driver and occupants of a vehicle have far more to do with the outcome of a traffic stop than does the initiating officer."
Just this past May, in a separate incident, other members of the Boynton Beach Police were caught on video pulling students off a school bus and placing one student in a chokehold while kicking another to the ground.
One of the officers was eventually placed on administrative duty by the department following that incident.
The department's statement over the incident involving the four men in the Toyota says, "During these difficult times, we should find ways to bridge gaps and build effective partnerships. The Boynton Beach Police Department is committed to our core values of Civility, Accountability and Pride, and we look forward to a continuing collaborative relationship with all members of our community."
New Times requested the arrest report from the Boynton Beach Police Department, as well as information and copies on the internal investigation. The arrest report, which you can see below, was sent to us. The department has yet to respond to the internal investigation request. When it does, we'll update this post.
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