Video has surfaced showing an Arizona police officer threatening to kill, who officials say, is an undocumented immigrant.
Teodulo Sanchez was pulled over Friday on his way home from work along State Route 85, by an unidentified Buckeye, Arizona, police officer. Sanchez recorded the stop.
“Weapons? No weapons in your car?” the officer, who is speaking Spanish, asks. “Keep your hands where I can see them, don’t move. You hear me? You have a license? Show me your license now. If you do something, I’ll kill you here. You understand?”
Sanchez says the officer, who is off screen, then pulls out his pistol and points it at him. Police dispute this claim and say the officer never pointed his gun at him.
“You don’t have weapons in the car? You sure? Is there anything in the car? What’s in here? Just tools? You sure? OK. Don’t get out. Stay there. If you move, I’ll shoot you,” the officer says.
Watch the raw footage:
Rough English translation:
OFFICER: Do you have a license?
SANCHEZ: Yes, sir.
OFFICER: Show me the license right now. If you do something, I will kill you right here. Do you understand me?
SANCHEZ: [Spanish here is a bit inaudible] Yes, I am recording you too.
OFFICER: Put your hands up here. You don’t have weapons in the car? Are you sure? Are there any in the car?
SANCHEZ: No, if you like, I can get out of the car.
OFFICER: What’s here then?
SANCHEZ: I come to work. These are my tools.
OFFICER: Just tools? Are you sure?
SANCHEZ: Am sure.
OFFICER: Ok. Don’t get out of the car. Stay there. If you move, I will shoot you right here. Do you understand me?
SANCHEZ: Yes. Do you want to check my ID (inaudible)?
OFFICER: Where are you coming from?
Officials say Sanchez is an undocumented immigrant that is now in deportation proceedings but family say he is in the country legally as part of a work program. He has two US citizen children, ages 5 and 10. His father is also a US citizen.
Sanchez says he was never told why he was stopped.
Police say his vehicle was observed committing a traffic violation. They also say they received reliable information from another law enforcement agency that a gold, four-door Honda was carrying a large amount of illegal narcotics with a possible armed occupant and that is why the officer was on alert..
“He kept telling me not to move my hands, he was really aggressive, there was no reason to put his gun in my face,” Sanchez said. “I thought he was going to kill me, he was really upset.”
The Buckeye Police Department says an internal investigation into the incident has been launched.
Local news coverage:
Arizona’s immigration policy has become under increasing scrutiny since 2012, when the state authorized police to conduct immigration status checks of anyone they stop for any reason and suspect of being in the country illegally.
The measure, upheld by the US Supreme Court in June of that year, was part of a broad Arizona clampdown on illegal immigration signed into law in 2010 by Republican Governor Jan Brewer, an outspoken critic of the Obama administrations policy on immigration.
Brewer said at the time that the law was needed because of the federal government’s failure to secure the border with Mexico. She said enforcement would be free of any racial profiling.