SAN MATEO (KRON) — A San Mateo couple says they were pulled over at gunpoint by police, and they feel they were treated unfairly.
It all started when they honked their horn at another driver. An hour later, police had their weapons drawn, they say.
“He’s not resisting, he’s not resisting, it’s my phone, it’s my phone,” Jennifer Thomas said in the video you’ll only see on KRON4.
At one point, an officer raised his weapon directly at the woman filming.
The couple claims the driver they honked at told police they had a gun.
Officers had received a report of death threats and a firearm brandishing.
The video has now been seen more than 17,000 times on Thomas’s Facebook page.
It’s a video that shows her boyfriend, David Solano, being ordered to the ground by San Mateo police officers.
Officers were told by the man that during a traffic altercation, Solano brandished a handgun and made a death threat.
The officers also noticed that the vehicle was registered to Solano, who has a history of contacts with this department that includes firearm allegations and other alleged criminal activity, according to police.
“Given the allegation of a firearm in the vehicle and death threats by the suspect, as well as historical information on the registered owner that included firearm allegations, a high-risk stop was performed,” police said.
When she yells that David isn’t resisting arrest, you can see an officer point his gun at her.
Three days later, she is still thinking about what happened.
“It scared me obviously when I seen him pointing the gun at me, but also there were 15-20 cops behind me, that you can’t see, with guns pointed, so it was terrifying,” Thomas said.
The couple says everything started when they were traveling to Safeway to get food for their children. David honked at the car in front of them.
The man inside pulled out his phone and started taking pictures of their car. David pulled up beside him. There was a brief argument and the two drove off.
It appears the man who was honked at called police saying that David had a gun and made a threat.
A short time later, the two were pulled over and officers ordered them to the ground.
“The first words were, ‘Put your hands in the f***** air…And then at that point, I was like, ‘what the hell is going on,'” Solano said.
The couple tells KRON4 they don’t own a gun, and while David did curse during the argument, no threat was made.
Officers later let them go, but they both believe David was lucky to not have been shot when he was ordered to the ground–and they’re both now fearful that what happened then could happen again with a much worse outcome.
“I was so scared that he was going to be shot,” Thomas said.
“I feel like I’m a prisoner in my house because I can’t go out and buy my son milk or diapers or either of my kids,” Solano said. “I can’t go out with my family out of fear of being shot by a cop. Not being harassed, but I feel like we could be shot by a cop.”
KRON4 did reach out to the San Mateo Police Department Monday evening with a number of questions.
The department responded early Tuesday morning with their statement:
Friday afternoon June 2, at about 5:30pm, SMPD received a report of death threats and a firearm brandishing in the area of 42nd Avenue and El Camino Real. The victim described to officers that during a traffic altercation, the male suspect (self-identified in the media as David Solano) brandished a handgun and made a death threat. The victim had a photo of the vehicle and license plate. The vehicle was registered to Mr. Solano, who has a history of contacts with this department that includes firearm allegations and other alleged criminal activity.
Given this information, SMPD initiated a countywide Be-on-the-Lookout with details that the vehicle occupants could be armed. Within minutes, an SMPD officer located the exact suspect vehicle. Given the allegation of a firearm in the vehicle and death threats by the suspect, as well as historical information on the registered owner that included firearm allegations, a high risk stop was performed. During this high risk stop, the female passenger in the vehicle (self-identified in media as Jennifer Thomas) directed an object at officers which was later discovered to be a mobile phone. Officers, at that time safely detaining Solano for safety, and not knowing whether the alleged firearm was in the vehicle, pointed a firearm at Thomas until Solano was detained. As seen on video, they then retreated to an area of cover to order Thomas safely out of the vehicle. No gun was found in the vehicle, or on Solano or Thomas. Based on the lack of an actual firearm found, the vehicle occupants were released at the scene, and the case has been forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office to determine if any charges are appropriate. No-one was injured during this incident.
Once the stop was rendered safe, SMPD officers and the sergeant on scene did their best to practice procedural justice and explain the reasons for their stop. However, neither of the occupants were interested in hearing our explanation. We have additionally reached out to them again, to offer them a voice in the incident and to provide any further explanation they wish.
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