The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is investigating after body camera video captured a motorist unleashing a racist tirade against a deputy and calling him a “murderer” during a traffic stop in San Dimas.
The deputy pulled over the unidentified woman on April 23, saying she was using her cellphone while driving. He had activated his bodycam — one that belonged to him and was not issued by the department — to film the encounter.
In the video, which was widely circulated on Monday, the driver can be heard accusing the deputy of harassing her and claimed he pulled over “because you’re a murderer.” She then told him she was recording on her own cellphone but denied being on the device while driving.
“I was recording you because you scared me,” the woman said. She then called for his supervisor as the dispute escalated, with her proceeding to call him “murderer” again multiple times.
While the woman — who identified herself as a teacher — looked for a photo of her driver’s license that she had left at home, the conversation continued with the deputy writing the ticket.
“You’re scaring me. You’re threatening to kill me and my son,” she alleges.
Eventually, the supervisor arrives at the scene, according to the video, which was edited.
“He’s only citing you for using your cellphone while you’re driving, that’s it,” the supervisor told the motorist.
The woman responded, “for him being a Mexican racist. … Here you go, Mexican racist. You’re always going to be a Mexican; you’ll never be white. You know that, right? You’ll never be white, which is what you really want to be. You want to be white.”
The woman has not been publicly identified. In a tweet, Los Angeles Southwest College said she had previously worked there but her employment ended in 2017.
The rant was only caught on camera because of the deputy had his own personal body-worn gear on that day; the Sheriff’s Department is still working on issuing body cameras for every deputy.
After the encounter, the woman called the department and filed a personal complaint against the deputy, alleging “discourtesy,” according to a sheriff’s statement.
“An active inquiry is being conducted,” the statement read. “Due to the active complaint, we are unable to provide further comment regarding the supervisory inquiry. What we can say is peace officers are faced with situations like the one captured on this video daily, and they routinely respond with professionalism, compassion, and patience.”
The complaint led to the deputy releasing the footage for his own protection.
KTLA has not seen either the unedited version of the bodycam video, or the woman’s cellphone footage.