(NewsNation) — A family from Arkansas says they are traumatized after being wrongly stopped, and held at gunpoint, by police in Frisco, Texas, after a mistake by an officer.
Frisco police said in a news release that they observed a black Dodge Charger with an out-of-state license plate leaving a hotel on Sunday, July 23. Because of recent vehicle thefts in the area, where Chargers are “frequently stolen,” police said the officer conducted a check on their computer of the vehicle’s Arkansas license plate.
The officer, however, mistakenly entered the plate as being from Arizona. An incorrect registration return led the officer to believe the vehicle was possibly stolen, Frisco police said.
After this, the officer initiated a high-risk traffic stop on the Dallas North Tollway, which the news release said is standard procedure for stolen vehicles. Backup officers arrived and closed down southbound lanes.
Body camera footage from the Frisco police shows two officers pulling over the Charger. In the video, one officer points his gun at the vehicle and tells the woman driving and others in the car to get out.
“Driver — slowly lift up your shirt, only for us to see your waistband,” the officer said. “Slowly spin around.”
The officer asks if there are any weapons in the car, to which the woman driving says there is a licensed gun in her glove box.
“We know there is a gun in there. If you reach in that car, you may get shot so be careful,” the officer responds. “Do not reach in the car.”
Media outlets have identified the woman behind the wheel as Demetria Heard. A woman with that name also posted her account of the incident on social media.
Heard said on TikTok that what was originally a fun-filled trip to a basketball tournament quickly turned into her and her family’s “worst nightmare.”
“This has to stop! We were completely humiliated and threatened to be shot without a given reason,” Heard said.
While the family wasn’t physically harmed, Heard said they have experienced a great deal “of emotional and psychological trauma as a result of Frisco Police Department’s negligent actions.”
At one point, Heard’s son was put in handcuffs.
“Please don’t let them do that to my baby,” Heard can be heard pleading on camera. “This is very traumatizing. Why is my baby in cuffs?”
After a sergeant came to the scene, they realized the error, and ordered officers to stand down, Frisco police said.
According to body camera footage, an officer explained to the family what happened, saying it was “human error” and asked for their forgiveness.
Heard’s husband, in the video, tells the officer that things could have “went all wrong” for his family.
“I dropped my phone here, they yelled out, ‘Don’t move or we’ll shoot,'” he says.
Frisco Police Chief David Shilson said in a statement Friday that the department “made a mistake,” and the officer involved “quickly accepted responsibility for what happened.”
“I’ve spoken with the family. I empathize with them and completely understand why they’re upset,” he said. “I apologized on behalf of our department and assured them that we will hold ourselves accountable and provide transparency through the process. This incident does not reflect the high standard of service that our officers provide on a daily basis to our residents, businesses and visitors.”
On the day of the incident, a review was started to see what happened and evaluate how to prevent it from happening again, the news release said.