CSUSB cop investigated for pulling gun on fellow officer during discussion of mask enforcement

Rob McMillan Image
Friday, October 30, 2020
CSUSB cop investigated for pulling gun on fellow officer
San Bernardino police are investigating an incident involving a CSU San Bernardino officer seen on video pointing a gun at a fellow officer as they discussed how to enforce mask-wearing on campus.

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- San Bernardino police are investigating an incident involving a Cal State University San Bernardino law enforcement officer shown on surveillance video pulling his gun and pointing it at a fellow officer.

The officer who the gun was pointed at has now hired a local attorney to represent him.

"When he told me the story, and I later realized it was on video, I could not believe it," said attorney Tristan Pelayes, who said the officer in question is a sergeant with the department.

The incident is alleged to have happened on campus on Sept. 15. The surveillance video shows four police officers standing around having a discussion when one of them pulls his sidearm and points it toward one of the other officers. The gun was pointed at the other officer for approximately one second.

"Everybody had just gotten to work, and the sergeant in question was telling my client that the officers needed to enforce the (COVID-19) mask requirement on campus," said Pelayes.

"My client questioned the authority for that. For instance, if we were to arrest somebody or escort somebody off the campus, what is our legal authority for that? Apparently, that conversation led to the sergeant losing his temper, and ultimately pulling a gun on my client."

The video, provided by Pelayes, did not have any audio attached to it. Pelayes said his client accessed the surveillance video himself and used his cellphone to record a copy of it.

Pelayes said his client filed an internal complaint against his sergeant, and filed a report with San Bernardino police.

A San Bernardino police spokesperson verified that a report was taken and is being investigated as a misdemeanor charge for brandishing a weapon.

Pelayes said it should not be investigated as a misdemeanor, but rather as a felony charge for assault with a deadly weapon.

"For brandishing, I could have, for instance, a gun in my waistband. And (if) I lift up my shirt just to show you I have a gun, I just brandished a gun. But if I pull that gun out and actively point it at you, now that turns into an assault."

A spokesperson for Cal State University San Bernardino issued a statement that read: "We are aware of the incident and an internal investigation is ongoing. Thus, we have no further comment at this time."

Pelayes said what he saw on video is the most outrageous and egregious act that an officer can commit on a fellow officer.

"This is something officers learn early in their career. If you pull out your weapon, and especially if you point your weapon at a target, it's because it's the last resort.

"You don't do this because you're joking, or you had a bad day, or because you have a temper. Because if you are that kind of officer, you should not be wearing a badge, and you certainly should not be carrying a gun."