Cody Police Officer on Paid Administrative Leave During Investigation
Written by Andrew-Rossi on May 29, 2023
On Friday, May 26, the City of Cody and Cody Police Department released a statement saying a Cody police officer was on “paid administrative leave” while a formal complaint against the officer is investigated.
“The City of Cody and the Cody Police Department acknowledge its commitment to maintaining transparency, accountability, and the highest standards of public trust in law enforcement. This necessary step has been taken while the internal investigation is ongoing and finalized regarding the matter.”
While not identified in the statement, the officer on leave is Patrol Officer Blake Stinson. The formal complaint – filed two weeks ago – relates to a January 2023 traffic stop Stinson made that became a popular but highly critical YouTube video.
The video, posted on the channel LackLuster, is taken from Officer Stinson’s body camera. During the traffic stop, an underage driver is arrested and charged with interference with a peace officer and possession of a controlled substance. The charges were later dismissed.
Many viewers were upset by the video, and soon social media was full of outrage from people inside and outside Cody – some posted their rage on the Cody Police Department Facebook page. Since its publication, the video has been viewed over 550,000 times.
Cody Police Chief Chuck Baker acknowledged the incident in a May 24 statement when he announced the investigation into the formal complaint.
“We are committed to taking appropriate corrective actions should the findings of the investigation determine that the employee’s conduct was inappropriate, excessive, or inconsistent with the responsibilities of the role. We appreciate the community’s patience and understanding as we work diligently to review this matter. We also ask the community to understand that some videos and social media content which show portions of the video have been edited and narrated to show selective parts of the interaction and do not necessarily tell the whole story.”
Any information on the investigation will be released “as appropriate” with legal parameters.
“The City of Cody and the Cody Police Department emphasize their commitment to a thorough and impartial examination of the matter at hand,” the May 26 statement reads. “The City of Cody and the Cody Police Department will provide updates on the progress and findings of the internal investigation as appropriate and within the bounds of confidentiality requirements per Wyoming statute.”
Any Cody resident that would like to provide comments or information pertinent to the investigation can call (307) 527-8709 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.