A Medford police detective was placed on leave Monday after being captured on a dashboard camera telling a motorist that he would “put a hole right in your head” during a traffic stop Sunday night, officials said.
LeBert was placed on administrative leave by Police Chief Leo Sacco, who said he was troubled by LeBert’s actions and language during the Sunday night confrontation on High Street.
“The language, the demeanor,’’ Sacco said in explaining why he placed LeBert on leave and launched an internal investigation. “Just what is being said and how it is being said. I hate even being quoted as saying it, but ‘putting a hole in your head’ — that is uncalled for.’’
The incident was captured on the dashboard camera of the driver, who describes himself as a Malden resident who grew up in Lowell. LeBert insists on the recorded video that the driver post the section showing the traffic incident, but on Monday the driver had only released the section showing the confrontation between the two men that took place at about 10:15 p.m. Sunday on High Street.
“I’d like to see what might be there a little bit earlier and what might be there a little bit later when everything was OK,’’ Sacco said.
The chief said the driver did not file a formal complaint with the department on Monday. The driver could not be reached for comment.
Sacco said LeBert has performed well over 30 years on the police force.
The video begins with a red pickup truck pulling up on the right side of the driver’s car as they both reach High Street. The driver can be heard saying something that is unclear while LeBert, who was off duty, can be heard saying, “now you’re done!’’ as he puts his truck into park, opens the door, and steps out.
LeBert is wearing a T-shirt and shorts. There are no police markings on his pickup truck, which Sacco said was his private vehicle.
LeBert can be seen reaching into his rear pockets and a side pocket as he walks toward the car. The driver backs away, leaving LeBert in the middle of the street, holding what the chief said appeared to be his wallet badge in his left hand.
LeBert’s right hand is down by his side.
“I’ll put a hole right through your [expletive] head,’’ LeBert says in the video. “Pull your car over. I’ll put a hole right in your [expletive] head. I’ll put a hole right through your head.’’
The driver tells LeBert that he did not know he was a police officer, and he pulls over.
‘You’re lucky I’m a cop because I’d be beating the [expletive] out of you right now.’Medford police Detective Stephen LeBert, in confrontation caught on video
“Not only a cop, but a [expletive] Medford detective,’’ LeBert says. “You went through that [expletive] rotary.’’
“I’m sorry. I didn’t see a sign,’’ the driver says. “This is my first time. . . .”
“You’re lucky I’m a cop because I’d be beating the [expletive] out of you right now,’’ LeBert says.
The driver told LeBert that he had a dash cam, and the detective said he was going to seize the video because it will show the danger the man caused by driving into the rotary the wrong way.
When uniformed officers arrived, they allowed the driver to leave without a citation. Before the driver left, LeBert spoke to him one more time.
“Don’t forget to bring your dash cam, your video, of you going through the rotary the wrong way almost hitting two cars head-on, one of them being me,’’ LeBert says on the tape.
Sacco said that LeBert had a duty to act even when off duty because of the risk an impaired driver can pose to the traveling public.
But Sacco said LeBert had options that did not include confronting the driver himself, such as calling on-duty officers right away.
In the 2012 incident, LeBert approached a man who was filming him, according to a Boston.com report.
Sacco, the police chief, confirmed that LeBert was the man depicted in the video and that he was counseled on how to “act accordingly.”
Below: video of the 2012 incident.