Weiser officer on teens: 'I would’ve put a bullet in ... each one of their heads'
A Weiser police officer upset over an August encounter with three young adults later told a police dispatcher that he’d like to shoot the trio.
“If I can get away with it, I would’ve put a bullet in the center of each one of their heads. Bam!” Officer Cody Samson said in a video released Monday afternoon by a Weiser attorney who represented one of the defendants.
The video — edited from four others, all uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday afternoon — was included in materials a Washington County prosecutor turned over to attorney Shane Darrington in his defense of his client, Jacqueline M. Aldrich, 19. It also shows Samson speaking with Aldrich before she was arrested.
Darrington said he was “appalled” when he heard Samson’s comments, recorded by the officer’s body camera, about wanting to shoot the women.
“It’s very unprofessional conduct,” Darrington said.
Weiser Police Chief Carl Smith issued a short statement Tuesday afternoon through the department’s Facebook account.
“We are aware of the situation with the YouTube video concerning the adult female. The matter is currently under review,” Smith wrote. “We cannot make any further comments at the present time, as it is a personnel matter.”
The police department took down its Facebook page by early Tuesday evening after receiving several comments critical of the department in response to Smith's statement. It remained offline on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Mayor Diana Thomas would not speak to a reporter about the situation.
The women detained by Samson repeatedly argued with and cursed at the officer during their initial conversations and subsequent arrest. In the videos, Samson initially appears professional in his approach before growing gradually more frustrated.
Samson pulled over a car driven by Aldrich early on Aug. 30. He told her he had been dispatched to check out a report of a fight and asked her to get out of the car.
He asked Aldrich what she was doing. She replied that the group had been driving around and was dealing with family problems. She denied being at the location where the fight took place and asked Samson whether he was, after the officer insisted she had been there.
“Maybe I was,” he said.
Samson’s tone changed after the officer asked Aldrich where her driver’s license was and she turned and started walking back to her car.
“I didn’t say to go get it. I asked you where it was,” Samson yelled, his voice rising.
As she walked back toward the officer, Samson said, “You’re not understanding me? You don’t know how to comprehend?”
Aldrich told Samson she didn’t understand why he was disrespecting her.
“No, you’re disrespecting me,” Samson said.
“I thought that meant to go get my license,” Aldrich said. “If that was wrong of me, I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
“Since when in the U.S. does ‘where is your license’ mean ‘walk away and go get it’?” Samson asked.
When Samson later spoke to Mia Sanchez, a passenger in the car, he was calmer. She complained about being placed in handcuffs while the officer questioned her. He explained that he had to determine whether she had done anything illegal and that he would let her go if he could confirm her contention that she hadn’t broken any laws.
“The more cooperative you guys are, the easier this goes,” he said.
Not all of the exchanges were angry. Samson asked Aldrich if she had anything illegal on her person.
“Absolutely not,” she replied. “How about yourself?”
“No,” he answered.
“Cool,” she said.
Aldrich was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Aldrich’s older sister, Abigail, was charged with an open container violation and disturbing the peace. Mia Sanchez, 18, was also charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
After all three were taken to jail, Samson spoke to a dispatcher, complaining about the three women before saying he wanted to shoot them, the video shows.
“Mouthy little b-----s. Oh, my f-----g God,” said Samson, who has worked for the Weiser department since April 2012 and previously served as a deputy in Adams and Washington counties, according to Idaho Peace Officers Standards and Training.
All of the charges against the three were dismissed, except for the open container charge against Abigail Aldrich. She paid a $102 fine.
Darrington said he believes the officer’s conduct, proved through the video, led to the charges being dismissed.
“I’m certain it did,” he said.
Chuck Kroll, the deputy Washington County prosecutor who handled the case, was not immediately available for comment.