Attorney: 'Safety in this case did not justify this officer's action'

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- When we spoke to Gavin Seim, the Washington State man who observed and videotaped the Boise Police traffic stop that's all over You Tube, he continued to maintain Boise police Sergeant Lori Sperry acted inappropriately, by demanding to see his driver's license and telling him to take his hands out of his pockets when he had done nothing wrong.

"At some point, my hand was either in or on my pockets," Seim said. "She reached out and grabbed my arm and she pulled it away from my pocket. She really crossed the line at that point. I wasn't suspected of a crime, I did ask her that, I hadn't done anything, I wasn't interfering with her (traffic) stop in any way."

Boise attorney Scott McKay says the videotape support's Gavin Seim's side of the story even though the sergeant said in the video she was acting out of concern for her safety.

"But officer safety in this case did not justify this officer's action," said McKay. "The young man filming the traffic encounter he was not involved in was standing far back. It took the officer, I counted more than ten seconds, to walk back to where he was."

McKay also agrees with Seim that there's no law saying you always have to do everything an officer tells you. "You're obligated to follow an officer's lawful commands," he said. "But an officer can't tell you to go jump off a bridge, you're not obligated to jump off a bridge if an officer tells you to."

And what about showing your driver's license or ID to a police officer? When are you legally compelled to do that?

McKay says a U.S. Supreme Court ruling established that officers can request ID when there's reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

"And there was certainly no indication this man who was not involved, he standing far back and was not engaged in anything criminal," he said. "She had no legitimate reason to demand his ID."

McKay admits it's not easy being a police officer but he says with great responsibility comes great public expectation to be treated with dignity and respect.

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