Two Black men recently stared down the barrel of a cop’s gun in Massachusetts. Several people reported that an off-duty police officer, who is white, pointed his personal weapon at the men after a car accident on July 18.
Now, the officer, identified as Stephen Burke, was being investigated by the Brookline Police Department’s office of Professional Responsibility for over the incident, Brookline TAB reported.
Burke, who has been with the Brookline department since 2015, drove his own pick-up truck and got involved in a collision with the men’s BMW. His passenger side door was hit before Burke pulled to the roadside to exchange information with the other car’s driver in Brookline, a Boston suburb. However, he said, the other driver pulled back into traffic. Burke then began to follow the BMW, saying that he thought the driver was attempting to flee the scene before running a red light. Burke later pulled up alongside the vehicle and then pulled out his firearm while identifying himself as a police officer and initiating a public stop.
The scene got the attention of several witnesses who called authorities, a police report said.
Several Brookline officers arrived at the scene in which the two unidentified men were handcuffed and sitting on the curb. Burke handcuffed one man, and an on-duty cop had restrained the other one for “safety purposes,” a report said.
No one was arrested, and the BMW driver was issued a citation and court summons.
Questions, however, remained as to why an armed Burke pulled out and initially pointed his weapon at the men during the scary scene. Investigators will also likely focus in large part on why the officer conducted a motor vehicle stop in his personal vehicle and took “enforcement action” — measures which are addressed in the Brookline PD’s policy book.
Burke has been placed on administrative duty pending the investigation, police Lieutenant Philip Harrington said.