An Oregon state trooper pounced on a man who was video recording his patrol car, accusing him of “interfering with a police officer,” before grabbing the man’s phone and wrestling him to the ground, tossing the phone aside.
The trooper, who has been identified as Jeff Smith, had been sitting in his car, investigating a parked car that was sitting in front of the home of Mike Scott, the man who was attacked.
Scott posted the video to Facebook, saying the trooper had showed up to his home and inquired about a yellow Honda CRX parked in front of the home.
Scott said he asked the trooper for his name and badge number, but the trooper refused, getting back inside his patrol car, which was parked behind the Honda.
When Scott walked outside with his camera, circling the patrol car from the front to the rear where he began recording the cop’s license plate, the cop stepped out of the car, telling him, “get back right now, you’re interfering with a police officer.”
And before Scott had a chance to respond, the trooper had already pounced on him.
“Get away from my car, you’re interfering with my job,” the trooper can be heard saying as he wrestles with Scott.
The trooper than stops and walks back to his car, telling him, “stay away from my car.”
“You stay the fuck away from me. I’m going to report you for assaulting me,” Scott responds.
Scott posted the video to Facebook where others identified the trooper as Jeff Smith, who has a history of negative interactions with citizens.
One of the commenters on his video, Benjamin Hodges, said he has reported Smith several times to his superiors, but nothing has ever been done about him.
We’ve reached out to both Scott and the Oregon Highway Patrol for comment and will update this article when we hear back.
UPDATE: The Oregon Highway Patrol provided the following statement about the incident.
On August 22, 2015, at approximately 07:13 a.m., the Coos Bay Police Department dispatch center received a 911 call pertaining to a reckless driver within the Empire District of the City of Coos Bay. An Oregon State Police Senior Trooper overheard the criminal call and responded to assist. The Trooper located the suspect vehicle unoccupied and parked on N. Morrison Street in the City of Coos Bay. The Trooper attempted to contact the registered owner of the vehicle at an adjacent residence to further the investigation into the Reckless Driving complaint.
The Trooper attempted contact at the residence and was unable to contact the registered owner of the vehicle in question. The Trooper walked away from the residence and was conducting further follow up investigation and documenting suspect vehicle descriptions and identifiers as the vehicle was parked on the side of N. Morrison Street.
As the Trooper was conducting the follow up investigation, an adult male identified as Michael SCOTT, age 25, from North Bend, came out of the residence from which the Trooper had previously attempted to contact the registered owner. SCOTT approached the suspect vehicle and the Trooper with a digital recording device in hand. SCOTT proceeded to climb up onto the hood of the car and then sit on the roof of the car with his legs positioned over the windshield, facing the Trooper who was positioned near the front of the suspect vehicle.
The Trooper disengaged contact with SCOTT and walked back towards his patrol vehicle and ultimately re-entered the patrol vehicle. SCOTT dismounted from the suspect vehicle and followed the Trooper. SCOTT continued to advance towards the police vehicle, walking in front of it, on the passenger side, across the rear and then advancing towards the driver side. The Trooper exited his vehicle as SCOTT was approaching him from the rear. The Trooper was attempting to stop SCOTT from further interfering with his investigation of the original Reckless Driving Complaint.
Coos Bay Police Department responded and arrived to assist with the investigation and further continuing the investigation into the Reckless Driving Complaint.
The Oregon State Police is continuing the investigation into the incident with SCOTT and will be referring the completed criminal report to the Coos County District Attorney’s Office for consideration of the charges of: Interfering with a Police Officer and Disorderly Conduct II. Other criminal charges may be considered upon the review of the Coos County District Attorney.
We have requested the dashcam footage and will be posting that when we receive it.