Syracuse Police Chief issues do’s and don’ts during a traffic stop after controversial use of force

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Much has been made of a controversial traffic stop in Syracuse that’s led to the discipline of two police officers, but the Syracuse Police Chief says it’s an opportunity to learn what to do and not to do during a traffic stop.

The Chief of Police deemed they violated the department’s policy on officer demeanor during a traffic stop.

He did, however, deem appropriate the use of force caught on the officer’s body camera and on the passenger’s cell phone.

Chief Kenton Buckner says there are things learned by the department that will be worked into policy and training.

Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner, “I want to do a point of clarity.  See what happened with Mr. Moore, resistance, non-compliance, force.  You see Mr. Osorio taken from the vehicle, instruction, compliance no issues.” 

He says follow an officer’s legal instructions and adds showing your hands is always advised.

“Gaining compliance from an individual who refuses to cooperate with a lawful order and who resists arrest is the most common scenario that causes us to use force,” Buckner says.

The Chief says it’s understandable for any passenger to be curious what’s going on if their friend or family member is taken out of a car by police, but he says there are some very simple rules you should abide by.

“I will tell you and respectfully ask our public if you’re a passenger in a vehicle where this kind of thing is going on, stay in the vehicle, keep your hands exposed where the office can see them and please do not do anything that would lead the police to believe that you are part of the problem that we’re dealing with here on the ground or that you pose a threat in the vehicle that we’ve yet to secure and that we’ve yet to determine what’s in that vehicle, please do not do those types of things,” he says.

Buckner adds while it is your First Amendment right to record a stop, on a cell phone for instance, there are reasons why an officer will take your phone.

“We’re never going to deal with you until I know who you are, what you’re doing with anything in your hands, that’s law enforcement 101.  Everyone knows it, everyone understands why it’s important and we’re not going to allow you to have anything in your hands until I can figure out who you are and what you’re doing,” the Chief says.

He also points out that, despite rumors, the passenger’s phone was not broken.  There is video evidence released at a Monday press conference showing the video continued after it was taken away for about four minutes.

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