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Tense Traffic Stop Caught On Camera; Former Sheriff Says Officers Played It By The Book

Sacramento (CBS13) — Barbershop owner Rudy Ornelas says he was pulled over last year by Sacramento Police for tinted windows, but the interaction quickly turned tense.

After telling police he had a "fix it" ticket for the window and his front license plate, Ornelas said a gun was pointed at his head and police conducted an illegal search.

Though the incident happened last year, Ornelas said he posted the video now because he says won the case and wanted to send a message to his YouTube audience. Sacramento police confirmed the incident happened but declined to comment because it happened last year and it's a personnel matter.

The video starts with Ornelas saying he decided to release this viral video now because he was cited for numerous charges that were dropped.

"This happened in 2018 of November and I just won my case this month 2019 of August, that's the reason I'm uploading this video," Ornelas said.

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In the exchange, the officers asked if he had a "fix it" ticket for the window tint and front plate. Ornelas replied that he did have one, but didn't remember when it was due. He then told the officers his license is in his backpack in the trunk of the car with a registered firearm in his name.

Former Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinnis looked at the video and says police played the traffic stop by the book.

"The law requires them to actually book him for driving that car on a public highway without a driver's license or any identification in its place," McGinnis said.

In the video, as one officer went to the back of the car, a female officer said she didn't feel comfortable standing alone during the search. The other officer then asked Ornelas to undo his seatbelt and step out of the car.

An argument escalated as Ornelas demanded to know the reason for the stop and refused to get out of the car until a supervisor was called.

The female officer then stepped back and pointed her gun at Ornelas' head as he argued with her partner. Former Sheriff McGinnis says officers had every right under the law to point the gun.

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"You've got somebody who they have a lawful reason to remove from their car, he's refusing to do so, he's refusing to remove his seatbelt until a supervisor gets there. That's not a luxury he has," McGinnis said.

McGinnis said it could have ended badly and its easier to comply.

"Then there's the reference to a firearm, so at that point, they've got to be prepared for an escalation of force here," McGinnis said. "In terms of the law application, I see no issue with it."

The Sacramento County DA's Office could not confirm what Ornelas was charged with or what charges were dropped.

Ornelas still has a gun charge before the courts and told CBS13 his lawyer advised him if he stays out of trouble for two months and takes an eight-hour firearm safety class, his charges will be dropped and his gun returned.

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