In Stockton, California, on May 25, 26-year-old James Weaver was violently stopped in a road rage incident. Weaver said he feared for his life during the stop that stemmed from an alleged “traffic violation” with off-duty cop, Kevin Hachler.
He was driving an SUV which hauled a U-Haul trailer along the freeway when an off-duty cop “noticed Weaver driving erratically.” According to a police report, the officer stated that Weaver “intentionally swerved” at his vehicle. A video captured by a passerby, Tim Swope, showed Hachler drawing his gun and ordering Weaver to the ground after the two men stopped.
After James Weaver, who’s Black, was stopped and ordered to get on the ground, Tim Swope even asked Kevin Hachler, who’s white, what was the problem and Hachler never responded.
“Don’t move,” Hachler said in the footage. “I’m not going to keep telling you.”
Weaver accused the officer of attempting to run him off the road.
“And you’re a cop?!” Weaver asked after the off-duty cop failed to identify himself. “What’s your badge number? You’ve gotta give me your f—–g badge number.”
The Stockton officer ignored both men and Swope kept recording as white officers and one Latino officer arrived to “investigate” the situation.
Weaver explained that he was hauling a new vehicle he had purchased in Reno, Nev., back to Stockton when a driver (Hachler) flipped him off after he switched lanes. He said he wasn’t aware that he had cut anyone off.
Kevin Hachler allegedly followed Weaver for almost 45 minutes until he pulled over to the side of the road. He said it wasn’t until he was face down on the ground that Hachler identified himself as an officer.
“And he grabs me by the back of the shirt like this and points the gun at my chest,” Weaver detailed. “At this point, we are thinking we’re being robbed because he hasn’t identified himself as a police officer.”
Stockton Police tell a different story claiming Hachler contacted California Highway Police after he said Weaver swerved through multiple lanes of traffic, then intentionally swerved toward him.
Hachler states he did follow Weaver off the highway into downtown Stockton. Three people exited Weaver’s car, and the off-duty cop exited his pickup truck. The officer alleged Weaver started walking toward his truck with one hand in his pocket when Hachler said he announced himself as an officer, drew his gun, and detained Weaver at gunpoint. No other parties corroborated that story.
Weaver was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and reckless driving. He also had a child with special needs with him. James Weaver stated that the child was also placed in a holding cell at the police station. The charges were dropped on May 31 when Weaver was bailed out of jail.
From the video, it looks as if Weaver was compliant in every way. If Hachler felt he was in danger, why would he follow “a dangerous man” for 45 minutes? Why not simply give the California Highway Patrol Weaver’s license plate number?
It is unlikely that Hachler will face charges.