HOUSTON, Texas — A video taken in Sandusky, Ohio shows a police officer threatening to seize a man’s children, and place them in the custody of Child Protective Services (CPS), for failing to show ID during a traffic stop.
Christopher Denny, a Sandusky cop, pulled over a car during a routine traffic stop on Wednesday, according to the Sandusky Register. 30-year-old Kathryn Said was driving, and 34-year-old Andre Stockett was sitting in the passenger seat. The couple’s two-week-old baby was reportedly in the back seat.
Officer Christopher Denny initially stopped the car because Said’s license plate reportedly showed that she had an expired license. Said handed over her license, which was valid, and Stockett began recording video on his cell phone.
Denny walked up to the passenger window and asks Stockett to show ID. Stockett responded, “No for what?” Denny said, “Because you look exactly like a person that has warrants, okay?” Stockett said “that’s not me,” and refused to show his ID. Finally, Denny called Stockett “Mr. Newell.”
“Mr. Newell? I’m not Mr. Newell,” Stockett said. “I have done nothing wrong, you have no probable cause. I’m not coming outside the car, I’m scared for my life. I haven’t done anything wrong, I haven’t broken the law, I haven’t done anything. I don’t have to get out the car, I don’t have to tell you who I am.”
Denny proceeded to tell Stowell that it’s a “lawful stop” and that “you match the description” of the individual with warrants.
At this point, Denny called for a K-9 unit to search for drugs, claiming that Said appeared “nervous.” After the officer claimed a dog had alerted him to drugs being in the vehicle, Stowell refused to get out of the car. “The narcotic dog didn’t find a hit on this car, you’re full of s**t,” Stowell told Denny.
Denny then threatened to take the baby in the backseat to “Children’s Services.” Another officer approached the car, and at that point the couple was told they were under arrest for “obstruction of an investigation.”
Stowell, clearly upset, screamed, “What investigation? What investigation is there?”
“Well the child is going to Children’s Services,” the officer said. Stowell was then told that if the couple did not get out of the car, “everyone’s getting arrested. It’s as simple as that.”
Eventually, the couple got out of the vehicle and were both arrested on obstruction charges, according to the Sandusky Register.
The Sandusky Police Chief later told the newspaper that Denny was not threatening the couple when he brought up CPS. “I don’t look at [that] as a threat,” the police chief said. “I would rather it not be taken as a threat. Could that ultimately happen to someone being arrested? Yes. We do not want to displace a child from their mom or parent.”
Subsequent to the event, however, the officers with the Sandusky Police Department were “counseled” on the bringing up of CPS.
Follow Kristin on Twitter @KristinBTate.