CODY, Wyo. - Cody city officials said Tuesday a police officer involved in an internal investigation into conduct on the scene of a traffic stop with a juvenile remains on paid administrative leave.
Officer Blake Stinson is the officer at the center ofa video that went viral on social media where a 17-year-old Cody boy was forcibly removed from the family car after being stopped on the way to school.
Cody City Administrator Barry Cook said the city is taking the matter very seriously and taking its time with the investigation into the conduct of Stinson.
“We take it seriously. We want to do a thorough investigation,” said Cook. “We want to make sure the process is followed and done in a legal and proper way.”
Cook said the internal investigation should be wrapped up sometime Tuesday, with recommendations heading to both his office and Police Chief Chuck Baker, but that’s not likely where the matter ends.
He said they are currently looking into hiring a third-party outside investigator to also make a ruling on the officer’s conduct.
Cook said that investigator is from outside of the state of Wyoming.
“We are finalizing the contract right now, so that’s all I can say,” said Cook. “They helped us rewrite our use of force policy.”
When that is done, Cook said all the recommendations will go to the police chief to make another recommendation on the status of Stinson’s job where Cook himself is then tasked with making a final decision.
Stinson’s paid leave stems from a January traffic stop where the boy was traveling with two other juveniles on the way to school.
Stinson stopped the teen for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a nearby crosswalk and when the teen failed to produce a license and registration at Stinson’s request, he was placed into custody.
The teen is seen in the viral video calling his mother Teresa Piper for help, pleading with her as the officer forcibly grabs both the boy’s arms, demanding he unlock the car doors.
The vehicle was then searched for marijuana paraphernalia.
Cook, the city administrator, said the internal investigation is being done by Sgt. Juston Wead, an officer who also responded to the traffic stop under question.
Piper has previously said she feels that decision is wrong.
Cook also said he’s ultimately the person who decided to place Stinson on paid administrative leave, following a rule in the Cody policy handbook.
City leaders say they will keep the public information as the process unfolds and the investigation wraps.