The identity of the person who uttered the comment is in dispute. On social media, many seem to believe that it was the police who made the remark. Milwaukee County Sheriff Richard Schmidt says it was absolutely not one of his officers.
Schmidt said that he reviewed the video, which was originally streamed on Facebook Live by an observer, looked at footage recorded on police squad dashboard cameras and interviewed the involved officers to make the determination it wasn't any of them. It's hard to imagine a police officer admitting to that level of racial bias, even if it exists.
— Khary Penebaker (@kharyp) August 20, 2018
"Our officers did nothing that made any racial statements, which I'm very happy to state," Schmidt told reporters. "It would have turned out different if our officers, which did not, but if they would have done this, they would have been suspended on the spot."
Schmidt said that the officers drew their guns because the stop was believed to be "high risk" and that the driver could flee. They stopped the man because he sped through a stop sign.
The driver apparently didn't see the risk. On video, he can be seen with his hands hanging out of the driver's side window and asking, "Why you got your guns pointed at me, though?"
"Because you're not white," a voice says. Police say that comment was made by a "white male" with "long facial hair" who was passing by in a green van.
Schmidt called the comment, which he believes came from a critic, "very inappropriate."
During a news conference, the sheriff brought out one of the three deputies who made the stop to stand next to him in front of the cameras, a black officer who said he heard the remark. "I want you to see his face when I basically explain what took place," the sheriff told the media.
"I want it known that when I heard the allegations late this evening of misconduct, I personally called the head of the Black Panthers," the sheriff said. "That's right, the sheriff called the head of the Black Panthers, with whom I have an excellent relationship. I pledged to him, and to the entire community, that if any misconduct was observed on the squad video or documented on citizen video, that I would immediately suspend the officer involved and take harsh disciplinary action."