"Yesterday my boyfriend got arrested for leaving his car running while he ran into 711. I would like to point out that he doesn’t have a record. Neither one of us and no one I asked has ever heard of this law before. I’ve never experienced police harassment first hand. It makes me sad that this even happened. My man works. He is nice to everyone. Always smiling. It’s just sad that this happened. I’m so angry that they treated him like that. I really hope things change. All he had to do was just tell craig it was against the law and educate him not for all of this to happen. He spent the day in jail like he is a criminal. He is the farthest thing from that. I’m just glad he is okay and was able to keep his cool because it could have been so much worse. I love you Craig Williams….. I’m so sorry this happened to you…."
A witness’s cellphone footage of the arrest quickly went viral.
On Wednesday, the Sacramento Police Department also released bodycam and store surveillance footage of the incident, which began when 40-year-old Craig Williams pulled into the parking lot of a 7-Eleven convenience store.
He jumped out of his car and ran inside, just moments before a Sacramento police officer exited the building, the video showed.
Due to a delay with the bodycam device, the officer’s initial contact with Williams did not have any sound.
“I’m in the store…and he gets out, leaves the car running, had the stereo just blasting like crazy,” the unnamed officer said later in the bodycam footage.
The officer stopped near Williams’ car, and immediately motioned for Williams to come outside, the surveillance video showed.
“I said, ‘Hey – come out and shut your car off,’” the officer recounted in the bodycam footage. “He said, ‘I didn’t do nothing man!”
The officer said he again told Williams to come outside.
“I didn’t do nothing!” Williams argued again, according to the officer.
A moment later, the officer opened the driver’s door, and appeared to turn off the ignition, as Williams walked outside.
“I’m trying to explain to him…it’s against the law to leave your car running,” the officer explained in the bodycam. “He said, ‘I’m right here.’’
The officer told him it did not matter if he was nearby, and attempted to explain the municipal law to him.
“He’s…screaming and cussing and yelling…So I said, ‘Well, if you’re not going to listen, I’m just going to give you a citation for it,” the officer recounted in the bodycam.
Williams went back inside the store, while the officer went to take some items to his patrol vehicle. The officer then returned to Williams’ vehicle.
“I.D. please,” he said to Williams, who appeared to be setting up to record the interaction on his cell phone.
“For what? I didn’t break no laws,” Williams replied. “You need an I.D. for what?”
“So, you have your car running,” the officer began to explain.
“That has nothing to do with what’s going on, man,” Williams interrupted.
“It’s a misdemeanor to leave your car running,” the officer continued. “Plus, you had your stereo loud, to where it can be…”
“That has nothing to do with what’s going on,” Williams said repeatedly, as he continued to interrupt the officer.
The officer again requested that Williams provide his driver’s license.
“Why am I getting harassed?” Williams asked.
“I’ve already told you. Your car was running…” the officer began.
“That’s against the law?” Williams retorted. “That’s against the law to have your car running? I’m just asking.”
“It is against the law to have your car running when you’re not in it,” the officer replied.
The argument continued briefly, until the officer instructed Williams to set his phone down.
He then grabbed one of Williams’ hands, and calmly told him that he was going to detain him.
“Detain me for what?” Williams yelled. “Ya’ll see this s**t? Look at this s**t!”
“I’ve already told you, sir,” the officer attempted to explain, as Williams repeatedly yelled at witnesses to “call the police.”
Store surveillance and witness video footage showed that the officer only had control of one of Williams’ hands at that point in the altercation, and the officer could be seen positioning his foot in between Williams’ legs to gain better control of the argumentative man.
“I have not done nothin’ wrong,” Williams said repeatedly while recording himself.
“Then relax, and give me your arm,” the officer said in the bodycam video.
“Man, I’m a big man,” Williams cautioned. “I don’t want you to take me down. I don’t want to take you down.”
“Then relax…” the officer began.
“You relax!” Williams yelled. “I ain’t done nothing to break the law!”
“Don’t grab me,” the officer told him at one point.
“Don’t grab me!” Williams replied. “There is no law! There is no law for leaving your car running!”
“I’m going to throw you on the ground here in a second,” the officer calmly cautioned him, as Williams continued to declare that he was being “harassed.”
The officer then took Williams to the ground, at which point the man agreed to stop resisting.
“He’s trying to hurt this man!” one witnessed yelled, as she ran out of the store to record the altercation.
“I give up! I give up!” Williams said from the ground, with his hands raised above his head. “What the f**k, man?”
The officer placed Williams in handcuffs, and led him to his patrol vehicle.
He was subsequently charged with resisting arrest and leaving the ignition key in an unattended vehicle, and was released on his own recognizance on Saturday, The Sacramento Bee reported.
"These videos demonstrate how important it is for there to be a relationship of trust between a police department and the community it serves," the Sacramento Police Department said in a press release on Wednesday. "When that level of trust is absent, even minor incidents — such as a warning of a city code violation — can escalate into unpleasant and even dangerous events."
Williams’ attorney, Justin Ward, claimed that Williams thought the officer was kidding when he warned him about leaving his vehicle running.
"Who here would think that is a crime, right?" Ward told The Sacramento Bee. "I don't believe that Mr. Williams thought that the officer was being serious."
On Wednesday, Williams joined up with Sacramento National Association for the Advancement of Colored People president Betty Williams, and held a press conference to complain about his arrest.
“At the end of the day, he shouldn't have been in jail," she said.
“I am highly disappointed with the actions that the officer took,” Williams said of his arrest, according to KCRA. “The reason I am shocked and appalled is because I am a firm believer that an officer should be a friend to the people of the community they serve first before just being an officer who automatically assumes that we [are] all threats to them, because we’re not.”
“This footage has gone viral," he added. "And more importantly, the awareness has been brought up with respect with how people are being treated in their own communities.”
The incident remains under investigation, police said.
You can watch the footage of the officer’s interaction with Williams in the videos below:
Rob Murray Oh yes. The old worn-out dog-eared race card. Playable in any situation. I'm sure the NAAWP will have something to say about this as well
Rick Clayton Only an idiot would turn a verbal warning into a trip to jail. That jerk literally talked himself right into the hoosegow!