An unnamed North Miami Beach police officer appeared to allude to police killings of Black men during a traffic June 15 traffic stop, video of the incident shows.
“Give me your driver’s license, registration and insurance. If not, you will not be going to work today. Simple thing, man,” the unnamed cop said as 29-year-old Gerardson Nicolas recorded with his cell phone from the driver’s seat of his car. “This is how you guys get killed out here, man.”
The officer’s snarky comment—or veiled threat—quickly went viral on TikTok and other social media. Nicolas was driving his mother’s car when he was pulled over for not wearing his seat belt, he told NBC Miami. After he was stopped, he began scrambling for the car’s registration and his driver’s license.
“When he asked me for my license, open the door, I started recording. I was looking for my stuff, my license because I didn’t see my wallet - I was looking, looking. He got mad,” said Nicolas to NBC Miami.
More from NBC News:
The Miami-Dade Police Department said Monday that it has initiated an internal affairs investigation and will be reviewing 30 minutes of video captured by the officer’s body camera. Investigators will be reviewing “the traffic stop, the officer’s comments, and conduct,” it said in a statement. The bodycam footage will not be made public until after the investigation has concluded.
“Rest assured we are committed to transparency and community trust and will address all matters of public concern equitably, fairly, and in accordance with applicable laws,” it said.
The police union (as expected) ran to the defense of the officer suggesting the comment wasn’t racially motivated but instead in reference to Nicolas not wearing a seat belt, per NBC. Regardless of the intentions behind the comment, it’s tone deaf considering most Black people are anxious about the potential for violence during traffic stops, during which multiple unarmed Black drivers have been assaulted or by cops in recent years, with little accountability.
Nicolas told NBC Miami that the incident is still replaying in his head.
“I can’t sleep. I can’t stop thinking about it. I just want it to stop, because sometimes I feel the way they treat us, they feel like we nothing,” he said.