A Northern California police officer who was caught on video drawing his gun on a man who was not accused of a crime has been placed on temporary paid administrative leave, Rohnert Park city officials said Thursday.
"The city truly believes in community-oriented policing and deeply values the relationship between law enforcement and our community. The incident portrayed on the video is not a typical interaction between our public safety officers and the public," Assistant City Manager Don Schwartz said in a statement.
In a Facebook post dated July 29, Rohnert Park resident Don McComas said he was in his driveway securing his boat to the back of his SUV when a police officer drove slowly past his house, stopped, then circled around and returned.
At that point, McComas pulled out his cellphone and began recording.
In the video, the unidentified officer’s vehicle is seen driving toward McComas before stopping in front of his house. The officer then sits inside his SUV for nearly two minutes, and at one point, appears to be taking a picture of McComas with his own camera.
As McComas approaches the patrol car to record the license place number, the officer exits the vehicle and tells him to take his hands out of his pockets.
“No, sir. I’ve done nothing. I’ve done absolutely nothing. No,” McComas responds.
That is when the police officer unholsters his firearm and points it at McComas, who asks him to "put the gun down." The video shows McComas backing away while repeatedly saying "do not touch me" and asserting he did nothing wrong and did not have a weapon.
Schwartz said the city is bringing in an independent outside investigator to conduct a full review of the incident.
"In evaluating any complaint against an officer we need to be sure proper procedures are followed and the investigator will assist us in this regard," Schwartz said.
In addition to the independent investigation, the city also is conducting an internal investigation on the incident.
A previously planned meeting the city organized to help people and police build relationships was canceled because the city received threats after the controversial video was posted online.
"We canceled that event because we received some indication some folks from outside the community might use it as an opportunity to create a disturbance," Schwartz said.
Sources previously told NBC Bay Area the officer was in the area because police received a complaint about parking.
McComas has declined to comment on the incident and has hired an attorney, Daniel Beck.
The attorney on Thursday said he plans to file a civil rights lawsuit against the city and its police department.
"What we have here is a situation where an individual was in his driveway hitching his boat, not doing anything and minding his own business," Beck said. "What we're saying is no more. No more guns used unnecessarily."