Kelowna RCMP investigate after online video shows questionable traffic stop

RCMP in Kelowna, B.C., are investigating after a video surfaced online showing an officer pulling over a driver because of hand gestures made by her passenger. 

In a Facebook video posted by a person who goes by the name Shawn Michaelz on July 27 and viewed more than 120,000 times, the man who says he was the passenger describes the interaction with the officer. 

« We are waiting to turn left at an intersection with our signal light on and a cop is approaching us in the oncoming lane very slowly. We had enough time to make the turn at the speed he was going, but he had the right of way, of course, so we waited and at the last second he turns left, » Michaelz said.

« I throw my hands up in the air in the passenger seat of the vehicle and the cop gets mad and pulls a U-turn in the intersection to pull us over. »

When the unidentified officer approached the vehicle, the female driver asked why she was pulled over. 

« Anytime someone is going to go like that to a police officer they are obviously upset about something, » said the officer.

« I am doing my job, I am looking for a licence plate and I look down at my screen and I may have lost track of where I was on the road. Fair enough that is my job as a police officer. »

When Michaelz suggested that would be considered distracted driving, the officer responded by saying he was going to call a traffic officer to come and do a full vehicle inspection. 

« Well we will have a look at your paint job, your rims, make sure they are high enough from the ground. »

The driver asked the officer if they were being picked on and he responded: « No, not at all…. I am making sure your car is road worthy. »

In the two-minute video, the officer can also be heard saying, « If you are going to try to do that to uniform police cars, expect that response. I am just telling you, flat out. »

The officer also tells the pair: « In 20 years of doing the job I don’t get mad and you were able to make me mad. »

CBC News has made attempts to contact Michaelz to get more information about the incident including when and where it happened, but has not yet received a response.

Kelowna RCMP Supt. Nick Romanchuk told CBC News the constable in the video is a veteran officer but fairly new to the community. 

« I first became aware of the video this morning. I have viewed it a couple of times. I must admit I do have concerns, » said Romanchuk. 

« But it’s important to know that video comprises a couple of minutes of an interaction that lasted 15 minutes or so. So I have ordered an investigation to determine the entire facts surrounding the circumstances and based on those facts presented to me will determine if the actions of our member were appropriate or not. » 

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