A Michigan State Police officer who pulled a gun on an 18-year-old woman during a traffic stop has been widely criticized by the public and various media outlets. Even St. Joesph County Prosecutor John McDonough has called for Trooper Timothy Wagner to be fired.

But were Wagner's actions really that egregious?

Dash-cam video (below) from Wagner's car shows that the female failed to pull over immediately after Wagner turned on his lights and siren. He's heard telling the young woman that he followed her for nearly two miles before she finally stopped.

Would Wagner have been subjected to the same criticisms if the driver of the red Pontiac had been an 18-year-old man instead?

Having two family members employed in law enforcement in Genesee County, I firmly stand behind this officer. Approaching a vehicle during a traffic stop presents a huge vulnerability for law enforcement officers. Sure, most of the time the driver will have his or her hands in plain view, and offer their full cooperation. Most of the time.

Remember Michigan State Police Officer Paul Butterfield?

Butterfield's assassination was actually "at the forefront" of Wagner's mind as he approached the woman's vehicle, according to a statement provided to M-Live.

Let's also point out that while the young woman in the video below was handcuffed by Wagner, she was not injured, and not physically mistreated. She was held at gunpoint for a few seconds -- long enough for the officer to assess his own safety.

It's reported that Wagner is currently on paid administrative leave, pending investigation of the April 15th incident.

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- George McIntyre
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