A Tulsa police officer is under Internal Affairs investigation and has been moved temporarily to administrative duty after pointing his gun at a female driver and berating her for several minutes before writing her a ticket for an improper lane change. The incident was captured on the officer’s dashboard camera.
The interaction between the officer and the woman, identified by family members as Crystal Carter, took place April 25 just before 6 a.m.
Tulsa police have not identified the officer involved in the traffic stop. However, the video was released to The Frontier in late May following an open records request for a traffic stop involving “Ofc. Gerard Stege.”
Stege is the son of former Tulsa Police Chief Harry Stege.
The recording begins as Stege is eastbound on the Gilcrease Expressway and Carter, who is alone inside the vehicle, turns on her blinkers and merges in front of him. Neither vehicle appears to be traveling at a high rate of speed — an SUV in the left-hand lane can be seen driving past Stege’s vehicle prior to the traffic stop.
Once Stege’s lights are activated, Carter immediately pulls her car over to the right side of the highway and stops.
Classical music appears to be playing from inside Stege’s vehicle as he approaches Carter’s passenger-side window.
Stege first knocks on the passenger-side window at the 5:46 a.m. mark on the video, then waits seven seconds and calmly says “roll your window down.” Eleven seconds later, after appearing not to receive a response, Stege can be seen knocking on the window again.
Ten seconds later Stege can be seen trying to open the locked door with his left hand while reaching for his handgun with his right hand. He then puts both hands on the weapon and points it at Carter through the window.
When the door finally opens, Carter can be heard loudly crying. Stege asks her, “What are you doing? I just wanted you to roll the window down.”
Carter replies with something inaudible, and Stege responds: “Why are you operating a motor vehicle you don’t know how to operate?”
“This is my fiance’s car,” Carter replies.
“Well, have your fiance teach you how to drive and operate the controls in it,” Stege says.
Tulsa police said they could not comment on the video. Stege eventually tells Carter in the video that he pointed his weapon at her because she was reaching in the glove box.
“You won’t unlock the door, you won’t roll down the window, you’re digging in the glove box,” Stege tells her. “What am I supposed to do?”
Carter’s father, Apostle Milford Carter, spoke to The Frontier on behalf of his daughter.
“My daughter was absolutely horrified by that whole interaction,” Milford Carter said. “Here you have a young lady who is taken to threat mode immediately, when it was clear that no threat ever existed.
“When you pull your gun, all possibilities are on the table at that point.”
The interaction between Stege and Carter carried on for nearly 12 minutes. Stege tells her she’s being “rude,” tells her to “get herself together” and tells the crying woman “that’s all on you” when she doesn’t feel comfortable with how she was being treated.
“It’s not my job to make you feel any particular way,” Stege tells her.
As she continues to cry, he tells her to “hush (her) mouth,” and later asks her to “hush so we can get done with this.”
“Stop talking to me like I’m a child,” she says. “I am not a child.”
“You’re acting like a 4-year-old,” he replies.
Carter replies to him by saying, “You pulled a gun on me,” to which Stege responds, “I darn sure did.”
At one point Carter says, “I’m going to call my dad,” and Stege reaches into the car and appears to try and grab the phone out of Carter’s hand.
“You can’t grab my phone,” she says.
“I can grab your phone, I can put you in handcuffs. I don’t know you.”
Carter later says she feels uncomfortable and again asks if she can call her father.
“So now your father will be here? Good gosh, how old are you?” Stege asks.
Carter responds, “It doesn’t matter.” “It does matter,” Stege says in reply.
A few seconds later she again asks to reach for her phone, and Stege tells her she will be “resisting an officer” if she reaches for her phone.
Later in the encounter, Stege tells her she can use her phone and “call the president, it doesn’t make any difference to me.”
“The way the officer talks to her, there’s no justification for that,” Milford Carter said. “You cannot tell me if the situation was reversed that it would be like that. He said that she was hysterical or whatever; well, of course she was, she just had a gun pulled on her. In her day-to-day experience no one pulls a gun on her.”
Stege was named an “Everyday Hero” by the local Red Cross chapter in 2004 for his role in talking a suicidal man into not killing himself, according to a Tulsa World story.
Stege and his father serve as trustees for the Tulsa Police Memorial.