A 28-year-old Washington man who believes he was mistreated by a police officer when he stopped to videotape a traffic stop in Boise last week says he has filed a formal complaint with the department.
Gavin Seim, a filmmaker, videotaped his entire interaction with Sgt. Lori Sperry on Tuesday night. He posted the nearly 17-minute video online, and it garnered much attention last week in the Treasure Valley.
The incident occurred at about 9:15 p.m. near the Cabela's off Franklin Road. Sperry was involved in a traffic stop when Seim, who was en route to Salt Lake City with his family, happened to stop at the nearby Stinker Station. The traffic stop appeared to be routine, but Seim decided to record it. He says he was 60 to 70 feet away. When she noticed him, Sperry asked Seim to move to another location near the gas station.
Seim says Sperry acted unprofessionally and infringed on his legal rights by demanding that he provide identification and threatening him with illegal detainment. He alleges in his complaint that she assaulted him when she grabbed his arm after ordering him to remove his hand from his pocket.
"Had I acted in the same aggressive manner towards the officer, I would likely be charged with a crime. Her behavior crossed from unprofessional to criminal," he said in the complaint, which he provided to the Statesman. (Read the full complaint in the link to the right).
Seim recommends that Sperry be disciplined because "she fails to exhibit a competent understanding of how to 'protect and serve' rather than 'harass and collect.'"
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."
Katy Moeller: 377-6413