ROCK HILL, S.C. — Community activists say a police officer in Rock Hill crossed the line when he took out his weapon during a traffic stop, presumably for a seatbelt violation.
The driver's family says they're grateful no one was hurt. But now they want to know why things escalated the way they did.
Rock Hill Police Officer Cameron Kirby, recently named one of the officers of the year for traffic safety, lost his job after a traffic stop.
"It was the quickest officer I've ever seen fired," Activist John C Barnett said.
Barnett said he got a frantic call from a longtime church member.
"Apparently he was pulled over for a seatbelt," Barnett said.
The man, 23-year-old Denzel Dunham, was right up the street from his mother's house on his lunch break. When the officer pulled him over, he pulled right into his mother's driveway.
Barnett says Officer Kirby got out of his vehicle with a gun.
"He gets out of the car, turns around, the cop literally points the gun at him," Barnett said.
Barnett said Dunham was shocked, and asked why the officer had a gun out. According to Barnett, Officer Kirby then grabbed Dunham and tried to claim Dunham was trying to punch him and resisting.
Officer Kirby arrested Dunham, and charged him with disorderly conduct.
Dunham's mother was on the porch, watching the entire exchange. So did the officer's body camera.
When the chief watched it, he tried to look for any reasoning behind Officer Kirby's actions, Barnett says.
"He tried to look for a small inch of justification for why he did what he did but he said he couldn't find a centimeter why," Barnett said.
Dunham's charges were dismissed.
Barnett says this was one example where the department got it right, but Dunham could have lost his life for what his family says the officer did wrong.
"Getting the officer fired is symbolic to America sticking a 9-inch knife in our back and pulling it out 6 inches and thinking we still have progress," Barnett said. "But then the knife still exists there."
The Rock Hill Police Department issued a statement saying integrity is essential to their mission of treating all citizens with courtesy and respect, but they don't discuss personnel matters.