Buckeye PD: 'I will kill you right here'

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

BUCKEY, Ariz. -- The Buckeye Police Dept. is conducting an administrative inquiry after an officer was caught on video threatening to kill a man during a traffic stop.

The traffic stop occurred on Oct. 10 on State Route 85. It was for an obstructed license plate.

"During this time, the officers received information that the driver may be armed with a weapon," said Sgt. Jason Weeks with the Buckeye Police Dept.

Raw video: Buckeye officer threatens man

Police said the driver who was stopped, Teodulo Sanchez, did not comply with the officer's requests.

"Stopped me and said put your hands up and give me your driver's license. Scare me with gun in your face," said Sanchez.

Sgt. Weeks said the officer had his gun out of its holster but did not point it at Sanchez. 

Based on a report from another law enforcement agency, police were searching for a gold Honda 4-door vehicle allegedly carrying a large amount of illegal narcotics. Sanchez's vehicle matched that description.

The officer, who is bilingual, gave commands in Spanish and English as the driver was not complying.

Police said Sanchez continued making furtive movements in the vehicle before the officer approached the passenger side window.

"The officer asked him several times to put his hands on the steering wheel. He would do it but then he would put his hands down by the seat and that's when the officer ordered him to put his hands up," Sgt. Weeks said.

That is when the officer can be heard saying, "Show me the license right now. If you do something, I will kill you right here. Do you understand me?"

Sanchez filed a formal complaint against the police department because of the threat.

"We do not condone this officer's actions for what he said that day," said Sgt. Weeks.

Officials explained that traffic stops are stressful for officers, especially in light of recent events.

"This week alone we had one officer that was shot in the Phoenix area on a traffic stop and we had another officer shot in northern Arizona," said Buckeye Police Chief Larry Hall, "These are things that go through our officers' minds."

Police gave Sanchez a verbal warning for having an obstructed license plate and released him.

The officer who made the threat has been with the Buckeye Police Dept. for approximately one year. He transferred from another police department. Sgt. Weeks would not say how long the officer has been in law enforcement.

He could be reprimanded in some way when the investigation is complete.

Sanchez is in the country illegally and he is facing deportation, according to Erika Andiola with the Dream Action Coalition. The organization released the cell phone video of the traffic stop.