A Washington Township police officer is on administrative leave after a videotaped traffic stop was posted online and went viral.
Officer Eric Hart is being paid while on leave, Washington Township police Chief Christopher Kaiser said. Officer Hart has worked part-time for the department for about two years.
Officer Eric Hart isnât âin trouble, but to keep things aboveboard, we put him on administrative leave until an internal investigation is fully complete,â Washington Township police Chief Christopher Kaiser told The Blade of Toledo.
âIâm not saying he did anything wrong, but weâre trying to show weâre not trying to sweep this under the rug or cover it up.â
The clip on YouTube doesnât show the actual stop, but it gained the attention of the department after the video was posted online Sunday.
The incident took place on Sunday, when Cassandra Meyers was stopped for a routine license plate violation near her home.
In a police report, Officer Eric Hart wrote he was working Sunday afternoon when he stopped a vehicle at 166 Pine Ridge St., in Raintree Village, for having an âalteredâ license registration sticker.
Her father-in-law, Aaron Tatkowski, witnessed the officer questioning Meyers, and approached the scene because he didnât like the way his daughter-in-law was being talked to.
âHe hollered for me to get back in my truck, so I got back in my truck,â Tatkowski told CBS affiliate WTOL. âNext thing you know, Iâm yanked out of the truck and it made my girlfriend say a few things. He yanked her out of the truck.â
Tatkowski claims he was trying to comply with Hart, but was worried because his two granddaughters were still sitting in the backseat, says the NY Daily Mail.
What happened next was partly recorded by neighbors. Hart ordered Tatkowski, his girlfriend, Meyers and her 14-year-old son to lay face down in the street. The family and the cop began to yell at each other, and Hart drew his gun and taser.
He aimed at Tatkowskiâs head as he scolded them for not following police instructions. He eventually arrested Tatkowski and put him in his car. He had suffered cuts and bruises and was eventually taken to the hospital.
Ms. Meyers, 21, was arrested and booked into the Lucas County jail Sunday night for obstructing official business, tampering with evidence, fictitious plates, and a tax payment warrant.
A witness called 911 to request a Toledo police crew for an âofficer in distress.â Toward the end of the video, Officer Hart approaches the man, takes his phone, and tosses it aside, saying Toledo police are on the way.
The neighbor who recorded the video said the officerâs behavior was unwarranted.
âIt was totally uncalled for, the way [the officer] was using force on people,â said Jim Stechschulte in a statement. âIâm sorry to say that, but thatâs the way it is and if they donât like it, so be it.â
Actually, a spokesperson for the police department said the officer acted appropriately, given that the family members were not obeying instructions.