MEDFORD, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) - A 30-year veteran of the Medford Police Department has been placed on administrative leave following the posting of a YouTube video that appears to show the officer threatening a driver on Sunday night.
"Oh, you want to play, buddy?" The officer can be heard saying in the video. "I'll put a hole right through your head."
The driver, who captured the conversation on his dash-cam and posted it to YouTube, admits to the officer that he took a wrong turn in an unfamiliar area, which led him to drive the wrong way down a rotary.
"You went through that (expletive) rotary and almost hit a car head on!" the off-duty officer says. "You're lucky I'm a cop, because I would've beaten the (expletive) out of you."
The officer continues to threaten the driver in the 7-minute profanity-laced video.
The driver, who asked only to be identified as Mike, declined to show Fox 25 the video of the initial rotary incident on Monday. But, he said, making an illegal turn does not warrant such behavior.
"Something definitely needs to happen," Mike said. "This guy can't be wielding a weapon if that's his first reaction."
Medford Police Chief Leo Sacco told FOX25's Christine McCarthy that the officer has been placed on administrative leave while the incident is being investigated.
"It's very troubling, very concerning," Sacco said. "It's not the proper behavior, but we only know about it when people tell us. And unfortunately, we had to get up this morning and see it on a YouTube video."
But the incident isn't the first time Lebert's unusual behavior has been caught on camera. A YouTube video from 2012 shows an officer identified by the chief as Lebert acting strangely. A man is recording a police scene where his brother has been stopped and questioned by officers. Lebert smiles as he stares into the phone, then pushes the phone, before telling the man inquiring about his brother, "Take him up on the railroad tracks and tell him to lay down."
Lebert was counseled for his inappropriate actions that the chief said resulted from frustration with dealing with someone the police regularly run into.
But, according to Sacco, Lebert is a reliable officer who has made some bad decisions, resulting in complaints over the years.
"He's a very good officer," Sacco said. "Unfortunately when you're active and aggressive, many times you step on people's toes."
Sacco wants to see the driver's entire video, including the initial incident at the rotary. If he doesn't hand it over, police will likely obtain a warrant for it, Sacco said.
Fox 25 was not able to reach Lebert for comment at his home on Monday. Sacco said he apologized to him for disappointing the department.
Find the original, uncensored video here. (WARNING: Contains strong language)
The driver acknowledges that the date on his dash cam is wrong, but the time stamp is accurate.
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