Lake City councilman seen cursing at officers in bodycam video calls out police chief

The video shows Councilman Jake Hill being issued a citation for improperly displaying his license plate.

LAKE CITY, Fla. – Bodycam video of a Lake City councilman during a January traffic stop was put out for the public to see during a council meeting Monday.

The video shows Councilman Jake Hill being issued a citation for improperly displaying his license plate. Officers said the plate couldn’t be seen through the dark window.

Hill told News4Jax on Thursday he regrets the actions seen on the video, but he doesn’t regret his frustration with the police department after allegations of harassment.

On Jan. 17, two Lake City officers pulled over a white truck driven by Hill just after 2 p.m.

In the video, Hill can be heard saying he doesn’t have a driver license. For about 20 seconds, Hill and the officer go back and forth about him not having an ID.

“Why are you so hostile?” the officer asks.

“If you got me wrong, write me up or take me to jail,” Hill responds.

The officer then asks him to step out of his car, they go around back, and Hill gives the officer his name, then they learn he does, in fact, have a license.

“So why did you stop me?” Hill asks.

The officer says he wasn’t given the chance to explain.

“You see my plate in the window,” Hill says.

“I can’t see it from right there,” the officer says.

“I tell you what, give me my ticket whatever you are going to do. Write me up or let me go or take me to jail,” Hill says.

“Why are you being like this?” the officer asks.

“Why y’all been harassing people all f****** weekend? That’s why I’m being like this,” Hill responds.

In an interview with News4Jax, Hill responded to criticisms that he was being combative during the encounter.

“I was wrong about doing that,” Hill said. ““I wouldn’t advise no one to carry on the way I carried on. But my point was that they was arresting people. And I felt like I was being arrested because I live in that area.”

News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson, who’s a retired police officer, analyzed the traffic stop and said the officers in the video handled it well. He says Hill was in the wrong and being a “jerk.”

“The police get a bad rap. This is a perfect example of how an individual tried to provoke a police officer. This officer remains professional, remain calm, he did his job,” Jefferson said.

Jefferson said Hill could’ve faced more consequences, but the officer appears to have cut him a break only citing him for improperly displaying his license plate.

Hill said he’s also frustrated with Lake City Police Chief Argatha Gilmore for showing the video during the council meeting.

“This is not to put our council member on the ground. I’m so embarrassed that our officer did not know that was Councilmember Hill,” Gilmore said.

In the meeting, the chief reviewed other traffic stops and addressed allegations of harassment.

“You can see by this there are different areas,” Gilmore said. “It says the stops weren’t conducted in the same area and were on opposite sides of town from where Hill lives.”

The chief went on to show the city charter stating the council should deal with officers through the manager and the council can’t give orders to officers.

Hill said he didn’t appreciate his case being in the presentation and says there’s more to the story.

“The problem lies with our police chief. The community has no respect, trust in our police department...because of incidents like this,” he said.

Hill paid his citation and is still a sitting council member.

During the meeting, there was also a discussion of a possible citizen review board or a police chief advisory council.

The chief said members of the public can already review completed cases and give feedback to the department without having the council so instead she requested a police chief advisory council.

About the Author:

A Florida-born, Emmy Award winning journalist and proud NC A&T SU grad