A Black woman who was held at gunpoint by a Minneapolis Parks police officer after discovering she was licensed to carry a firearm, is finally speaking about the incident. After three years, she shared details about the traffic stop that changed her life and eventually led the city to award her with a six-figure settlement.
Minneapolis ABC affiliate KTSP recently spoke with Jenice Hodge about the July 2019 event where Officer Calvin Pham aimed his weapon at her — an altercation that cost the city $100,000.
While reflecting on the day, she said she believed “it was just going to be a regular routine stop.”
The officer’s bodycam video showed that from the start of their interaction there was conflict. Hodge asked the officer why she was being pulled over, and he noted she had her phone in her hand and her seat belt was not on.
She replied, “Yup, because I am using my GPS to drop my food off.” The driver further explained that her safety buckle was strapped in, her arm was placed over the portion intended to go across her breast, and that she had never been cited for this in the past.
Pham did not address her comments but asked for her driver’s license.
Hodge reached for her purse and set it on her lap between her chest and the steering wheel. As she rummaged through her bag to find her wallet, she simultaneously called her husband. While pulling her ID out to hand to Pham, he asks her to turn her vehicle off.
When Hodge responds by asking why, Pham draws his gun and pulls the door open, screams at her, and commands her to get out of the car.
A frightened Hodge cries out to her husband that the officer has pulled his gun on her.
The entire incident from their first words to Hodge being instructed to exit her vehicle was less than 60 seconds.
“I didn’t even have my driver’s license out of the sleeve and I had a gun pointed at me,” she shared. “I was confused and scared. And I didn’t know what was going on.”
The video shows her with her hands out of the sunroof, but she would not leave her car. Pham continues to tell her to take her seatbelt off and get out of the car to no avail. So, he reaches in and grabs her purse, and throws it onto the ground.
Pham states, “Step out of the car, now. I will rip you out if you do not step out of the car now.”
“Why am I stepping out of the car?” she asks.
He answers, “Because I am giving you a lawful order to step out of the car.”
“Well, my attorney is on the phone,” she stated before telling the counsel that the officer threatened to touch her.
Things escalated even quicker after the woman told her husband where she was being pulled over and the officer called for backup. She relented and got out, and immediately the cop pushed face down her to the ground. Causing a confused Hodge to repeatedly ask why she must place her hands behind her back, “for what? for what?”
“What did I do to cause this reaction from him?” Hodge told KTSP.
Pham’s incident report of the July 12 altercation could be a clue. It read, “I observed a card in her wallet that appeared to be an MN PERMIT TO CARRY, which made me believe that JENICE may have a gun.”
Jenice confirmed to the station that she did have a permit to carry a weapon.
“You didn’t see a firearm, you didn’t ask if I had a firearm, you just reacted to something that you see in my wallet,” Hodge told the KTSP reporter as she described what the bodycam video depicted.
Pham said in his report, “I observed her hands reach into her purse. I observed her reach her hand behind her purse near her waistline and in between the seat and center console. I believe that JENICE was trying to conceal something or reaching for a weapon.”
Hodge refutes his account of the encounter. She says it would have been impossible to reach around with her seatbelt on and her handbag in her lap.
“I thought I was going to be issued a citation and sent on my way,” Hodge concludes. But she was not. She was arrested and booked on obstructing the legal process and having marijuana in her car. The charges were dropped after she pleaded guilty to driving on a suspended license.
Hodge filed a civil lawsuit and received a settlement of $100,000 from the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board last October and Pham resigned from the force a month after her award, KTSP reports.
The ex-cop gave no specific reason for quitting the police department and his personnel file has no mention of the incident.
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