STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) -- On the steps of Stockton’s City Hall, James Weaver, flanked by local activists and his attorney, demanded policy changes be made at the Stockton Police Department.
“I just want to see liability, pretty much, from the police,” Weaver said. “I think they should be liable for all the actions that happened.”
On Friday, the group walked into the City Clerk's office to hand over a copy of the civil tort claim for damages Weaver said he and his family suffered at the hands of an off-duty Stockton police officer earlier this year.
Weaver's attorney, Yolanda Huang, said besides compensation, Weaver wants Stockton police to change their use of force policy.
“In Stockton, when a police officer pulls a gun on someone it's not even considered a use of force. The police officer does not even have to report it and it's not reviewed by his superiors,” Huang said. “So you have sort of a Wild West attitude toward the use of firearms.”
The claim comes months after Weaver was arrested by off-duty Stockton Police Officer Kevin Hachler at gunpoint. The arrest was captured on cell phone video.
Weaver claimed his interaction with Hachler began miles away in Roseville on Interstate 80. He said he went to change lanes and accidentally cut a man in a blue truck off.
He said he didn’t think anything of it until he arrived in Stockton and came face to face with Hachler.
“I noticed he had a gun in his hand, so I was kind of in shock and didn't really know what to do. We were terrified. He told me to get to the ground, grabbed me by the scruff of my shirt and pointed it at my chest,” Weaver said.
Weaver was arrested and charged with reckless driving and assault with a deadly weapon.
Stockton police said Hachler observed Weaver driving erratically on Highway 99 in Stockton – and even intentionally swerved toward his vehicle. They said Hachler did call it into the California Highway Patrol dispatch.
But it was only Hachler who arrested him, and the police department said Hachler did identify himself as a police officer when he arrested Weaver.
Civil rights activist Rev. Shane Harris said the encounter with Officer Hachler never should have never happened.
Harris and other activists are working with Weaver and his attorney to hold Stockton police accountable for their actions.
"We know it's not all cops. We know all police are not bad but the bad apples need to be taken out and disciplined and that is, particularly, this officer who was dealing with Mr. Weaver that day," Harris said.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Stockton Police Officer Kevin Hachler did not identify himself as an officer when arresting James Weaver. This has since been corrected to state that Hachler did identify himself as an officer, according to the police department.