Caledonia police release video documenting viral traffic stop

NOW: Caledonia police release video documenting viral traffic stop

CALEDONIA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Caledonia police released hours of body camera video Thursday, Aug. 5, documenting the traffic stop where an officer tossed an empty bag into a car he stopped for speeding.

Another person in the car recorded the moment and it went viral, accusing the officer of planting evidence.

Caledonia police denied that, but admitted the officer shouldn't have tossed the empty bag into the stopped car.

The newly released body camera footage showed the officer stopping the car with four people in it for speeding.

The officer called for backup and had the passengers in the back seat taken out and searched because they weren't wearing seat belts, refused to show an ID and were moving around.

"Hi Officer Gorney, Caledonia Police Department. Reason I stopped you is for speeding 63 in a 45, do you have drivers license on you?" said Officer Gorney to the driver.

On July 24, a regular traffic stop turned into a search after the passengers in the back seat of the car refused to show an ID after the officer noticed they weren't buckled up.

"I'm going to need some identification from you guys, none of you are wearing your seatbelts properly," said Gorney.

He radioed for backup. It appeared he was searching for marijuana based on the questions he asked the driver. Asking if she smoked weed and if there was anything in the car there shouldn't be.

"This can either be nothing, or it can turn into something it doesn't need to," said Gorney.

He asked the driver some questions, got back in his squad car and then noticed the back seat passengers moving around.

"They're doing a lot of moving around though, I'm going to start taking them out," said Gorney.

Officer Schenk is the third officer on the scene. He helped search one passenger and then a second.

"Mind if I just search you and everything," said Schenk.

"Why would you need to search me?" asked the passenger.

"Just searching to make sure you don't have any weapons on you," said Schenk.

He reached his hand into the passenger's hoodie and pulled out a charger and the now infamous baggie.

"What's this?" said Schenk.

"A charger," said the passenger.

"Huh, what's the bags?" said Schenk.

He handed the bag to Officer Wolfe.

"It's not normal to tie bags like this," said Wolfe.

Wolfe then hands the bag to Gorney.

"Corner cut," said Wolfe. 

Then, Gorney walks back to the car and tosses the bag into the back seat.

"Hey, what's that?" the passenger asked. "I got you on camera bro," he said.

The driver was given a speeding ticket. No one was arrested for anything else.

Police did not release the video from their squad cars. They said technical issues prevented them from redacting it.

To view the video, the Caledonia Police Department says to file an open records request using the directions under Police Support Services on their website.

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