BOISE — A video of a Boise police officer's interaction with a Washington man who stopped to film a traffic stop earlier this week has prompted an internal investigation, according to a release Thursday from the police department.
The man who shot the video was Gavin Seim, 28, of Ephrata, Wa. The incident involved Boise Police Sgt. Lori Sperry, who has been with the department for 23 years.
Sperry was involved in a traffic stop near Cabela's Tuesday night when Seim began videotaping her with his cellphone. The filmmaker was just passing through town when saw the traffic stop and decided to record it.
"You never know what could happen," he told the Statesman on Thursday, explaining that he records police interactions with the public a few times a year.
The video shows that Sperry asked Seim to go stand at another location, closer to a nearby gas station. He declined and told her that he had a right to stand where he was. She also asked him for identification, and he again declined. She then asked him to take his hand out of his pocket.
"Where she crossed the line was when she grabbed ahold of my arm and pulled on me," Seim said. "If I did that to an officer, it would be assault."
On Wednesday, Seim posted the video on Twitter:
So last night I almost got arrested for filming the police. Just another day on the road :) Here's the video.. http://t.co/vWZwb65gaw— GavinSeim (@gavinseim) October 9, 2013
Seim said Sperry was unprofessional and belligerent. On his way to Salt Lake City on Thursday night, he was unsure if he'd file a complaint with the Boise Police Department.
"I think the officer has a problem controlling herself," he said. "I've seen way worse video. I'm not trying to be a martyr. I'm not trying to demonize the officer as to say, 'Look, you need to be held to a standard. You need to treat people with respect. Officers want to be treated with respect.'"
Boise Police Chief Michael Masterson released the following statement Thursday night:
The Boise Police Department recognizes maintaining the highest levels of professionalism and integrity are essential to maintaining the public confidence necessary for public and officer safety. As a Department, we take the behavior of our officers and how they treat the public very seriously. We are aware of the video taken of an officer during a traffic stop and are conducting an internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident."