COLUMBUS, Miss. — A white Mississippi police officer who was recorded telling a black motorist that he could shoot into the car if the man failed to keep his hands on the steering wheel has been placed on leave.
The Commercial Dispatch used a public records request to obtain the Aug. 18 video from the body camera worn by Columbus officer Keith Dowd, who said during the stop that he is a DUI and drug interdiction expert.
The video, posted to the newspaper website Wednesday, captures Dowd telling the driver he had been pulled over for speeding and repeatedly asking whether the driver had been smoking marijuana.
The driver, 20-year-old Joshua Hibbler, filed a complaint against Dowd at the police department Wednesday, the newspaper reported.
The video showed that during the traffic stop, Hibbler called the officer “sir” and said he had smoked marijuana in the past but had been smoking a cigar that day.
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“This is my first time being inside this situation. I swear. My record (is) clean. I’m a good person,” Hibbler said on the video.
Dowd replied: “No, you’re not a good person. You smoke weed and you’re running through city streets twice the dang speed limit.”
Dowd told Hibbler several times to stop reaching down and to keep his hands on the steering wheel.
“Next time you reach, it’s going to get ugly,” Dowd said. “Because you’re kind of appearing to me to be the twitchy type of person who’s done something wrong or you’ve got something. Listen to me. So, all this reaching and grabbing, whatever — I guarantee you, before you think you can do something, I can empty a magazine into the car.”
Dowd let Hibbler go with a warning and no ticket.
Columbus Mayor Robert Smith said in a memo that Dowd is a threat to community safety and he ordered the police chief to put Dowd on leave. The newspaper reported that Dowd is on leave, with pay, and the City Council plans to discuss his conduct next week in what is expected to be a session closed to the public.
Information from: The Commercial Dispatch