PALO ALTO, Calif. (KRON) — The Stanford Department of Public Safety is reviewing an incident in which a deputy unholstered his gun and pointed it at a car driven by a Black man on Saturday, the university said. A Twitter thread posted by a Stanford PhD candidate described the incident and went viral.
“The review, which is standard practice, seeks to determine if the actions of officers indicate any policy or law violations, and whether the incident indicates any additional training needs to be conducted,” Stanford DPS said.
Stanford said the incident happened Saturday night at 10:47 p.m. A Stanford DPS deputy on patrol noticed a car that was parked in a parking lot of a student residence with a pile of trash next to it.
According to Stanford, the officer illuminated the car and saw a person reclined in the front seat and delivery packages in the back. The driver said he was a delivery driver, asked if he was free to leave, and drove away.
The university said there have been package thefts on campus recently. According to Stanford, there was no proof that the man or the car was associated with a delivery company, so the officer asked dispatchers to run the vehicle’s license plate number. The search found that the registered owner of the car had an arrest warrant for DUI and suspended driving privileges in California.
Another deputy stopped the car a short time later near the Escondido Village Graduate Residences on campus, Stanford said. The deputy who originally made contact with the driver and a third deputy joined the situation.
According to the school, one officer told the driver to get out of the car and walk toward the officers, but he did not comply. Another deputy then drew his gun and pointed it at the car. A third deputy unholstered his gun but kept it by his side. The driver eventually got out of the car and was handcuffed and put into a police car.
Stanford said that a further investigation revealed that the man driving the car was not its registered owner. He was cited for possession of marijuana in an unsealed container in the compartment of a moving vehicle and released.
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The Twitter thread, which was posted by Stanford PhD candidate Jessica Stovall, has been seen by more than 2 million people. Stovall said the man cursed out the officers after he was released and told them “they knew they couldn’t arrest him for that.” Stovall was also critical of Stanford’s police response.
“I refuse to normalize this type of behavior of cops. This man was never arrested, and yet, he had a gun drawn on him,” she tweeted.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office will review the incident at DPS’ request. Stanford’s Community Board on Public Safety will also conduct a review.