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.