Police in Texas held a black family at gunpoint earlier this month after a typo led police to mistakenly believe their car was stolen. During the incident, an officer admitted to identifying the family’s license as being from Arizona, rather than their home state of Arkansas.
The incident, which took place on July 23 in Frisco, Texas, was captured on more officers‘ body cameras. The emotional footage, released Saturday, shows several members of the Frisco Police Department demanding the family — who identified themselves as husband, wife, their son and nephew — leave the car. They identified the boys as 12 and 13 years old.
An officer also pointed his gun at at least one of the children and handcuffed him, according to the footage.
At one point, the officer who ran the family’s records admits her mistake. “Looks like I made a mistake. So I ran it ‘AZ’ for Arizona instead of ‘AR’ and that’s what happened,” she says, according to the footage.
Later, the man becomes emotional and says: “However, it could have gone completely wrong for us.”
“If I would have gone for my phone, we could have all been killed,” he says before walking away sobbing.
NBC News was not immediately able to identify or reach the family members involved in the incident.
In a statement released Friday, Frisco Police Chief David Shilson said the department “made a mistake” and “will not hide from its mistakes.”
“Instead, we want to learn from them,” Shilson said. “The officer involved quickly accepted responsibility for what happened, which speaks to integrity.”
Body cam footage shows an emotional scene
Body camera recordings from the officer — who later admitted to misidentifying the license plate — shows police with guns drawn demanding family members leave their car on the Dallas North Tollway. Officers had closed the southbound lanes while they responded to the incident, according to information released by the Frisco Police Department.
The mother and her son exited the car, while the father and nephew remained inside, according to the footage.
Body camera recordings from another officer at the scene shows officers forcing one of the children to walk backwards from the car with his hands up while at least one officer points a gun at him.
After leaving, the mother who was driving the car tells the officer that she is from Little Rock, Arkansas, has always had that registration for that car and has “never been in trouble a day in my life,” according to the footage from the officer who made the typo.
The mother also informs the officers that there is a gun locked in her glove compartment and that she is licensed to carry a gun.
The mother then looks over at her son and asks: “Is he wearing cuffs? This is very traumatizing,” according to the video.
“Why is my baby in cuffs?” she wails. “What are you doing?”
“They’re just detaining him, it doesn’t matter,” the officer replies.
“No,” the woman yells, prompting the officer to tell her to “stop” four times.
Moment officer realizes mistake
Shortly after, the officer walks away from the woman, appears to spend a few seconds checking something in the police vehicle, then turns to another officer and says, “I don’t understand.”
The other officer asks, “Didn’t you drive it out of Arkansas?”
The officer replies, “I did – AR.”
Body camera footage then shows the officer explaining the situation to the man, whose name is blacked out on the footage, and one of the boys, whose face is obscured.
“I was driving your make, it came back to essentially associated with no vehicle,” the officer told the man.
“So I confirmed it with my dispatch — I’m like, ‘That’s weird,'” the officer says.
Soon after, the footage appears to show another police officer saying in the background: “She drove it out of the wrong state.”
The officer who made the typo protests, saying, “AR, AR is Arkansas, correct?”
Another officer, who appears to be looking at the officer’s initial computer search of the cruiser, replies, “It’s Arizona, though. It’s not Arizona.”
“Oh, I see what you’re saying,” the officer replies. “It’s up to me.”
Body camera footage shows another officer informing another officer — who still had his gun pointed at the car with the man and nephew inside — of the mistake. The officers then put down their weapons and four officers approach the car, none of whom made the mistake.
“Listen bro, we’re just here for a basketball tournament,” the man tells police as one of the boys cries in the back of the car.
“We just learned, right now, that’s why we stopped,” an officer replies.
“Don’t do this to my son, brother,” wails the man.
After the man and the boy got out of the car, footage from an officer at the scene shows him explaining the mistake to the young boy, who was crying in the back of the car, saying: “We’re so sorry you had to go through that. .”
The rest of the footage shows officers repeatedly apologizing to the family, and the officer who made the misidentified plate admitting the mistake.
A family member seems to say, “That’s fine.” The officer replies, “It’s not right, and whatever happens to me, I’ll handle it.”
The officer also tells the wife who had been driving the car: “This is all my fault. I apologize for this. I know it was very traumatic for you and your nephew and your son. And like I said, it’s on me. ” There are consequences that come with that’.
The video ends with the officer who made the mistake shaking hands with the man after he calms down. The man tells the officer, “It’s all right.”
The officer’s mistake led to the stop, says police chief
A news release from the department also states to shed more light on how the situation unfolded and how the mistake was made.
A Frisco Police Department officer “observed a black Dodge Charger with an out-of-state license plate leaving a hotel” and checked the car’s Arkansas license plate “due to recent burglaries and vehicle thefts where Chargers are frequently stolen.”
“The officer then initiated a high-risk traffic stop on the Dallas North Tollway, which is standard procedure for stolen vehicles,” the department’s press release said.
But the officer accidentally entered the license plate as being from Arizona, according to the department. When a sergeant arrived on scene, they “realized the error and immediately ordered the officers to ‘stand down,’ ending the high-risk stop,” according to information from the department.
The news release says the department initiated an incident review the same day as the incident “to determine what happened, how it was managed, and to evaluate what needs to be addressed to prevent this from happening in the future.”
The initial assessment revealed the need for officers to accurately enter information, according to the department, which also promised that “an ongoing review will identify additional changes to training, policies and procedures.”
Shilson, the police chief, said he has spoken with the family, adding: “I feel for them and completely understand why they are upset. I apologized on behalf of our department and assured them that we will hold ourselves accountable and ensure transparency throughout the process.”
“This incident does not reflect the high standard of service our officers provide on a daily basis to our residents, businesses and visitors,” Shilson said.
Grant Cottingham, public information officer for the Frisco Police Department, said in a statement that “the incident is still under review and any discipline related to it has yet to be determined.”