Medford Police Officer Stephen LeBert has been on administrative leave ever since he was captured on video threatening to “blow a hole’’ through the head of a driver who went the wrong way through a city rotary.
LeBert’s attorney, Kenneth Anderson, admits that his client overreacted the night of July 26.
“You have to understand his perception at the time,’’ Anderson said. “He sees somebody go the wrong way through the rotary …. I think the logical inference is that someone who goes the wrong way either is not from here or they’re impaired.’’
Though LeBert was not in uniform or in his marked cruiser that night, he “took it upon himself to try to stop this person to protect the public,’’ Anderson said.
LeBert has twice been struck by vehicles, Anderson said, fracturing his pelvis and coccyx and suffering a concussion. He feared he would be hit again.
“This idiot is revving the engine at him,’’ Anderson said. “He legitimately thought his life is in jeopardy.’’
Yelling at the driver achieved the desired goal, he said: the driver stopped.
“Whether you say, ‘Stop I’m going to shoot,’ or say, ‘I’m going to put a hole through your f—ing head,’ it’s the same concept,’’ Anderson said. “Maybe it was inartful, but it got his attention and diffused this situation.’’
The driver, a 25-year-old named Mike, has already spoken to Medford investigators about the incident. He has not responded to messages seeking further comment.
Anderson said LeBert is cooperating fully with the investigation. LeBert will talk to internal affairs investigators next week and give his side of the story. A decision on any discipline will be made in the next few weeks.
“I’m mystified it’s taken on this light that it’s taken on,’’ Anderson said. “I think it reflects the climate we’re dealing with. The anti-police sentiment out there that’s really not warranted.’’