Major controversy after police pulled over a firefighter


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — A major fire is raging after police in Pennsylvania conducted a traffic stop on a man who claimed to be a Philadelphia firefighter.

Philadelphia Police Department Officer Holloway conducted a traffic stop on Tony Soto’s vehicle for having tinted windows (sun screening).

The entire incident was captured on Soto’s cell phone, which he keeps set up on a dash cam stand in his vehicle.

When the officer approached the car, Soto quickly informed Officer Holloway he (Soto) had a permit from the state for his tinted windows. The officer then changed his story and stated the traffic stop was actually for a faulty headlight. Soto then proved to the officer that both of the vehicle’s headlights were working.

Soto said he did not lead with the fact he was a firefighter, but later in the conversation presented the officer with his fire marshal identification and badge.

The officer ordered Soto out of his vehicle, but he refused. Soto told the officer he was violating his rights and then requested the officer’s supervisor.

“We’re going to stop all this nonsense with you guys down here — just stopping people and doing whatever you want, so that’s done, those days are over,” Soto said. To which Officer Holloway replied, “Glad you think you’re changing the world.”

“No sir, actually, let me explain something to you, I’m not changing the world okay, I’m professional, and we’re going to change it one person at a time,” Soto said.

As Soto was waiting for the officer’s supervisor, the officer retreated to his vehicle, drove across the street, and parked his patrol car.

After several more minutes had passed, the officers drove off and left Soto sitting there in his vehicle.

Soto did file a formal complaint against the officers.

Soto said he felt the officers drove off hoping he himself would drive off right away. Soto said he believes that the officers would have then charged him with fleeing.

Soto said he felt like he was targeted because he is black, and wanted the videos public so everyone could see that they are not alone. He said had he not known his rights and had the video not been recording, the traffic stop could have turned out much worse.

Lieutenant Stanford of the Philadelphia Police said, “The officers showed tremendous restraint.” He went on to infer that Soto should have been “ripped” from the vehicle.

After Soto filed a complaint, police began harassing him and parking outside his home. Soto also released a video, which Ocala Post has obtained, stating that officers have also threatened his life through Facebook.

“Police corruption and power abuse is beyond race, it effects us all. If we all wake up and look at each other in a different light we are all really the same color,” Soto wrote.

The officer’s report also did not match what the video showed.

Philadelphia Police told Ocala Post that Soto is a convicted felon, and not a firefighter as Soto has claimed. According to reports, the Fraternal Order of Police is now asking authorities to pursue charges against Soto for allegedly impersonating a public servant.

Soto claims the officers are simply out to tarnish his character. Soto also said that the facts still remain that the officers report did not match the video and that, the officers abandoned the traffic stop.

The Philadelphia Police Department said they are still investigating this incident.

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  • pococolo

    Ok, so if that’s the case, why didn’t a supervisor come and why did the traffic cops leave without completing the request to provide a supervisor, without even issuing a ticket, or saying goodbye and/or explaining why they were leaving? The video speaks for itself and says it all. They had no reason to make the stop, but they made it anyway in violation of the constitution. Then, they left hoping to avoid any negative consequences to themselves.

    • Dawn

      Yup

  • Twa Magista

    You’re fucking stupid aren’t you?

  • Marque Anthony

    What can we and should we all learn from this?
    Know your rights, Use wisdom and maturity. You don’t fight fire with fire, you fight fire with water. You have many legal and lawful options that will get results, but you have to be around to get anything. Finally, we have to choose our battles carefully and know when, where, who and how to engage. We should never undertake battles we are likely to lose. There may be a better time, a better place and a better way.

  • Marque Anthony

    AS A FORMER DETECTIVE, EXECUTIVE PROTECTION AGENT AND CRIME PREVENTION INSTRUCTOR (and yes I am on the state database, attended various training academies and not a convicted felon), I have to weigh in on this issue because I am hearing all kinds of off the wall comments.

    1. Whether the guy is a convicted felon or not is not the
    issue in regards to the traffic stop. He very well could be a felon for all the reasons cited, but that has nothing to do with the traffic stop.

    2. In recent months I have been asked to analyze the following
    cases: Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Samuel Dubose and Eric Garner. I address facts, laws and hard evidence because that is the way the police detective instructor and marshal trained me to do.

    3. A recent Supreme Court decision of 2014 held that the
    officer must adhere to thee reason that he/she stopped you, unless he/she has probable cause or reasonable suspicion to proceed with another course of action.

    4. The guy in the car proved that he had authorization
    for the tint, regardless of how many felonies he may have. He then proved that his headlights were in fact working, though the officer apparently lied about that. Again, this has nothing to do with the guy’s past criminal record.

    5. The traffic stop thus had no legal justification to
    continue. Officers are not trained to wait across the street and supervisors have to come out – unless they are tied up at the precinct. That was entirely possible as to why the supervisor did not show up.

    6. As for the impersonation issue, the officer should
    have verified the guy’s badge and I.D. This is an easy task and in that state, Fire Marshals often have law enforcement type authority. It shocks me that the guy would show a badge, show an I.D., file a complaint, go on social media and do an ABC interview if he was not the real McCoy. But it appears that he was not.

    7. The officer could have sought to verify who the guy
    was right there on the scene. If it was found that the guy was impersonating a public servant, he should have been arrested right there or given a copy of charges (citation).

    In any case, we need to keep the issues separate. The
    guy’s criminal record and the traffic stop are two different issues. I am not as familiar with PA law as I am with the laws in my state, but from what I do know, (1) a lot of what he said was correct and (2) he should not have gone back and forth with the police officer. That could have ended up in disaster. Compliance is not agreement with what the officer is doing, but compliance is wisdom to de-escalate a potentially volatile situation.

    IF YOU THINK THE OFFICER IS ACTING THE FOOL, YOU DON’T ACT THE FOOL RIGHT ALONG WITH HIM. Trust me, there are plenty of legal and lawful ways to deal with a rogue officer but you have to be around to do them.

    What would I have done, especially with my training
    – badge or not? I would have shown the officer the paperwork, shown him my headlights, gotten his badge number, car number and name. Left. Then maybe filed a complaint with his department (internal affairs or the duty Sgt.)

    People continue to amaze me, just when I thought I had
    seen almost everything. Recently a guy in my state impersonated a doctor and conducted business out of his home. He was so good that the patients never realized he was a fake until the police arrested him.

    All that being said, I wrote a FREE EBOOK ON POLICE
    BRUTALITY and what you can do about it (legally and lawfully). Email me at atlantacrimecommission@yahoo.com
    for a free copy.

    Marque Anthony

  • Douglas Peters

    While I support your defense of your rights, you are not there to lecture them. AND your “STOP because I’m BLACK” crap stops right here. Your windows are tinted. Its dark outside. Can the black crap…your sex and race were not visible due to your windows being tinted and it being night out.

    What the officers did is wrong, clearly they either had the wrong car (if there were two Mercs similar in color) or he didn’t know how to back out and you both were in a d*^k measuring contest.

    Your attitude and the way with which you spoke, while not an excuse, clearly triggered something in the officer to out defy you and show he’s in charge. Your instance that the stop is invalidated, while technically accurate, isn’t really the right way to put that. What does the Bible say about a soft tongue? And I say that for myself as much as I do you. At times, I get accused of having a harsh tone when I speak when its not at all where I’m at. I’m just saying…

    As a fire marshal, how would you respond to someone defying in that very same tone and manner, using inflammatory terminology, during your investigation of a fire? That’s all I’m saying…

    You were not in the wrong, but you certainly did not do anything to de-escalate the encounter yourself.

  • Chame1111

    The Philadelphia Police Department is advising people not to act in the manner that Tony Soto did recently, during a car stop in Northeast Philadelphia. Soto, was pulled over for tinted windows, which he alleged to have a permit for. From the start, Soto copped an attitude with the 15th District cop. Now cops may be paying Soto a visit . It seems during the stop,which Soto himself video taped, he identified himself as a Fire Marshall. He is not. He is, in fact a convicted felon who straw purchased a gun for someone. Soto also has a record for impersonating a public servant. He has in fact done prison time.

    Philadelphia Police are being urged to arrest him for having the identification. The car stop happened last week and now, less than a week later, his video went viral with over 1 million views.. Most of the viewers seem to support the cop. In fact, many think the cop showed incredible restraint is not yanking him from his car and putting him in cuffs. Whether the car stop was valid or not is irrelevant. The cops has a right to stop him for tinted windows, if the windows are legal, he is let go. Soto asks for a supervisor and one never comes. in fact, the officers drive off, after checking his permit for window tint.

    In fact, cops have determined that Soto is dangerous and have advised officers to use caution in dealing with him, due to his past experience in having guns. During a recent television interview, where Soto is alleging harassment by Philadelphia Police. During that interview, he failed to bring his tint permit and refused to explain how he got fire department identification. He refused to say who he worked for. A convicted felon would not be able to get certification to work as a Fire Marshall ,nor would they be able to be a firefighter.

    Soto was well within his rights to video tape the traffic stop. If the officer committed any infractions,they should be held accountable, and Soto would want that. He should also be held accountable for any transgressions his video showed. If he is employed anywhere as a legitimate Fire Marshall, his employer should not notified. It sees that unless he is working here , Soto may be looking at further charges of impersonating a public servant.

  • Dawn

    I commend this man for what he did n for standing up for his rights. There’s no proof that he’s not a firefighter n I don’t see any proof from the police that he’s a criminal either.
    A lot of cops think they can, and they do, get away with anything. Bout time we learned our rights!
    Good for you sir! God bless!

  • Dawn

    Exactly what I posted!

  • Dawn

    Well said!

  • Dawn

    Totally different situation. This pertains to the stop in which the cop was clearly wrong. Whether or not he has a record, he wasn’t stopped for that, the cop didn’t mention it to him, etc

  • Dawn

    Why did the cop just leave, without giving a ticket, or even explaining why or telling him he was leaving? It’s bc Soto DID know his rights and was not stupid or ignorant.

  • Jorge

    I thought this guy was cool so I looked him up. I found out he pulled out a fake badge to give off the pretense that he is a fire marshall. And you can’t say it wasn’t fake because he’s a felon and in PA you can’t be a felon and a Fire Marshall. But thats not the point. It really shows how stupid some people can be. Sure he may have been within his rights but how are you gonna school an officer on the law if you’re breaking the law yourself by impersonating authority. Thats a big problem in Philly, people pull out badges to steal property and hurt/take advantage of people. It fucking happened to me! The story was cool and this guy got his 15 minutes but I can’t respect him hes a fucking clown.

  • sylvester smith

    wow..

  • V

    Good for you Mr. Soto..
    Clear case of Knowledge is power.. It’s evident that the police never called his supervisor (Supervisor never showed) and it’s also clear that the police officer was schooled on the rights of a citizen who effectively conveyed his rights.

    Also, the fact that the officer left, makes one believe that they knew that they were pulling him over for a BS reason or making up a reason to support why they pulled him over.. Glad that he took a stand.. Citizens shouldn’t have to fear the police.. But with all the agency issues who can blame people.. I’m actually considering going into law enforcement.. As Mr. Soto said.. One by one.. I’m looking to set an example.. The ethics that needs to be re-instilled in the some agencies across the nation is alarming.. Enough said…

  • “Don’t Argue With That Wall”

    The world would be a better place if people could focus more on the person in the mirror and stay out of others business. This has nothing to do with anyone here. If you don’t like what you’re reading or watching the turn it off. Stop pushing your hate and racism over onto other people, more importantly stop doing it to your children. This obviously boils down to racism and harassment. Not the story in general but mainly the people following it. Obviously if it was a blonde caucasian chick in the car whose rights were violated then this would’ve been no argument at all. The picture would’ve been crystal clear who the bad guy was right? Anyone out there left with sense knows that things like this isn’t worth arguing about anymore. The real fools are the ones who have the time to entertain the nonsense, who secretly has no life and only want your attention. Looking out for someone to place below them just to convince themselves that they’re worth existence at all or that they’re an elite. True elites don’t entertain they inform.

  • Isabellah

    I wanted to say a few things whether he is or isn’t a firefighter does not matter on this situation it is a different issue first and foremost. I have worked as a volunteer firefighter and i have also worked as a security guard with training from a former MP/North Carolina highway patrol and what the cops did which i see by how a lot of people are talking must be cops on here and if he is not committing any of the above motor vechile violations then they can not do anything to him on the issue that is first and foremost a main priority. I will admit i know a few dirty cops personally and i refuse to and always will tell anyone who they are. They also do not have the right to rip something out of someones hands and when a supervisor is requested then one has to be present before they are allowed to leave a scene of any type. I am just saying those cops where being shady and all you cops that are on here your job is to protect and serve like what is written in your officer’s oath and should not be a civil servant if you can not up hold the laws and do what is allowed and legal. I am righting this under the freedom of speech act. Thank you

  • Kenny Gregory

    whats to investigate fire the officer for his wrong doing and end of story.

  • Gerald Mclaughlin

    This creep is presently in jail and won’t see the light of day for a long long time. He is a career criminal!