For a police officer, there is no such thing as a “regular traffic stop.” A contact with a suspect can be fatal in an instant, as it did for San Antonio, Texas, police officer Tyler Sauvage at a morning traffic stop in western San Antonio in April 16.
According to a KSAT-TV report and the accompanying video of the police department, Officer Sauvage pulled a blue pickup truck and approached the vehicle. Both the driver and passenger in the seat were men. A woman sitting in the back.
Sauvage asked the passenger in the front seat to stop “going through his pocket” and “asked the driver to turn off the car and put the keys where he could find it.” The driver, though calm, refused to comply with Sauvage’s requests.
Finally, he turned off the vehicle and set his keys on the dashboard.
The officer asked for the passenger ID in the front seat.
The officer said he smelled marijuana and asked the driver, who later identified Sammy Barbosa, 33, to get out of the car.
Barbosa said he had smoked marijuana before, but none of it. He still refused, albeit calmly, to get out of the car.
Video narrator San Antonio Police Lt. Jesse Salame, said the front seat passenger, who was later identified as Alex Garcia, 25, was heard asking for a gun at the back-seat passenger.
Sauvage then removed the pickup truck door and Barbosa kept asking why he had to get out of the car. “Why, man, why?”
In a flash, the passenger officer fired the officer’s seat. Sauvage was hit with the finger of his right hand. He hid in the back of a police car and accidentally dropped his gun. With a bloody hand, he grabbed his weapon.
Either his gun was hit or he may have had a poor grip due to his hand injury, but the officer continued to be required to rack the slide. With great effort, he was able to return to the fire. Realizing that his radio was no longer working because it had been hit by gunfire, he shouted at anyone who could hear him to call the police.
The gunman stopped firing at this point, but the officer continued to fire. The narrator told us he did it because he saw movement inside the pickup truck and was “afraid he would be shot by the suspect again.”
When it was over, Barbosa and Garcia were dead and the woman in the back seat was shot, though she healed from her wounds.
KSAT broadcast a segment about the incident on Thursday. The report can be viewed here, but I don’t think I think network anchors have taken the side of the driver’s family. The anchor man announced two new videos “showing deadly encounters with San Antonio police.” Many times viewers were told that the police video was showing their (the police department) version of events. “They didn’t show the full circumstances, “ said the anchor woman as she shook up and down.
And, sounding almost conspiratorial, the anchor man assures his listener, “We’ll talk yan later. “
The narrator on the KSAT broadcast began by telling viewers, “This is a massive video made.”
According to KSAT, Barbosa’s family saw an unedited version of the video. Family members have different interpretations of events from the police version.
Barbosa’s nephew spoke to KSAT and said, “I don’t understand why the officer would first fire at the driver who knew he was following and he didn’t have any weapons, then shoot the second person who fired at him.” What followed was the conversation about Barbosa as a father whose son was about to celebrate his sixth birthday.
First, even though Barbosa is not rude, he does not comply. It took three requests for him to turn off the car and put his keys on the dashboard. And instead of getting out of the car, he continued to ask why.
Sauvage heard the passenger in the front seat ask the backseat passenger for his gun. Out of the blue, the passenger started shooting at him. The officer was shot in the car because someone inside had shot him. Surprised and after being shot in the hand, I never thought he would have the time or opportunity to think about who he was shooting. His life was in danger, the public was in danger, and the danger was coming from inside that car.
One thing all police hunt the same is a suspect who refuses to follow the simplest of commands:
“Turn off your car and set your keys where I can see it. Please get out of the car. I can see your identity.” None of these were unreasonable requests.
Everything falls into disrepair resistance. In most cases, everything is really simple.
But for the police, it’s not work.
This article originally appeared on The Western Journal.
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