A Miami-Dade police officer who was filmed telling a Black driver “this is how you guys get killed” during a traffic stop is being investigated in the wake of the incident. The police officer made those comments when the Black motorist, Gerardson Nicolas, was recording their encounter, NBC 6 reported.
The video, which has since gone viral, brought divided opinions with some people saying the officer’s comments were threatening while others suggested the officer was making reference to how vehicle occupants can die as a result of being unbelted.
Nicolas said he was driving to work when the incident happened. He also confirmed he wasn’t wearing his seat belt when he was pulled over.
“Give me your driver’s license, registration and insurance. If not you will not be going to work today. Simple thing man. This is how you guys get killed out here man,” the officer is heard telling him.
“What? Say that again? Say what you just said,” Nicolas tells the officer. “Registration and insurance,” the officer says in response.
Elsewhere in the video, Nicolas is heard asking the officer, “What do we get killed for?” He is then heard saying the officer would become “famous” in no time.
Nicolas told NBC 6 that he started recording the encounter out of fear. “I was scared, I was scared. I didn’t think my life was going to make it,” he said.
“When he asked me for my license, open the door, I started recording. I was looking for my stuff, my license because I didn’t see my wallet. I was looking for my wallet and that wasn’t my car, that was my mom’s car and I didn’t know where the registration was, I was looking, looking. He got mad.”
Responding to the video in a statement, Miami-Dade Police said that Interim Director George A. Perez had launched an internal affairs investigation into the incident. The department said it’ll be analyzing evidence including body camera footage. The police officer has also been placed on desk duty pending the outcome of the investigation, the department added.
“Rest assured we are committed to transparency and community trust and will address all matters of public concern equitably, fairly, and in accordance with applicable laws,” the department said.