Two University of Colorado football players have been suspended for the first two games of the season, following an incident involving a police traffic stop and an AirSoft gun.
Sophomore tight end DeVaughn Thornton and freshman wide receiver Jeffrey Thomas have been suspended for the Sept. 1 game against Colorado State and the Sept. 8 game against Sacramento State. Freshman defensive back Jermane Clark is no longer with the team because of his role in this incident and personal issues.
Around 2 a.m. on Saturday, a woman flagged down a Boulder police officer and reported seeing people in one car waving a gun at people in another.
The officer caught up to the two vehicles at Broadway and Walnut Street in downtown Boulder.
Boulder Police initiated a "hot stop," using loud verbal commands at gunpoint to get people out of a car.
One-by-one, police ordered five people out of a silver Audi. That was the vehicle where the gun was believed to have been seen.
Parked next to the Audi was a BMW SUV with four others. That was the other vehicle involved in the gun incident.
There were CU football players in both vehicles. They were friends and teammates.
As police found out, when they searched the car at gunpoint, the gun was an AirSoft pistol.
According to the police report, Clark -- one of the passengers of the Audi -- had the following exchange with an officer:
Clark: "What's going on?"
Officer: "We received information that there's a gun in the car."
Officer: "Is there a gun in the car?"
Clark: "Yeah, but it's a BB gun."
Officer: "Where is it?"
Clark: "On the passenger side on the floor."
Dash camera video obtained exclusively by 7NEWS shows multiple police officers approaching the Audi at gunpoint, after getting the five men out.
According to the report, officers found a "black AirSoft pistol labeled and fashioned as a Walther CP99
This device is (a) CO2 powered pistol designed to discharge 4.5mm plastic munitions and has the appearance of an authentic Walther CP99 firearm."
"They, right off the bat, admitted where the gun was (and) what type of gun it was. I think at that point, (police) should have realized, 'OK, well we have the gun, we have the so-called weapon,' they should have backed off then," said witness Tiyana Young.
Young was hanging out with the men in both vehicles on Friday night. She told 7NEWS she thought the police response was a bit aggressive once it was known the gun was a fake.
According to the report, Thornton -- the driver of the BMW -- made the following statements to an officer.
"Go Ahead! Shoot me mother******!"
"My dad's a sheriff!"
"I can go wherever the **** I want!"
"This is Boulder and you have your guns out?!"
"I just think with the whole situation, they were just trying to have each other's back," said Young.
According to one of Thornton's friends, his father is a sheriff's deputy in Missouri.
No charges were filed because there was no victim. None of the people involved felt threatened and none wanted to press charges against each other.
Coach Embree: Nothing Good Happens After Midnight
7NEWS caught up with CU head football coach Jon Embree following Tuesday afternoon's practice. He said he found out about the incident from players and not police.
"They know that when something happens, I better hear it from them first," said Embree.
Embree suspended Thornton and Thomas and punished the other players with extra workouts, even though they were just getting a ride home.
"No matter if it's your fault or not, if you get in trouble after midnight there's a certain punishment that will go along with that," said Embree. "I know no charges were filed and any of that, but at the end of the day we don't behave that way. There's no gray area when you behave like those guys behaved."
7NEWS asked if he felt his players were being held to a higher standard by Boulder Police.
"It's a privilege to be on the team and people are going to look up to you; you have kids looking up to you. If you don't think it's fair, don't be on the team. You have to behave with a different standard."
Police Meet With Athletic Department About Impact On Resources
According to the report, the fake gun incident caused an officer to be delayed eight minutes in backing up another officer conducting a traffic stop for suspicion of driving under the influence. A police sergeant planned to meet with the athletic department about the players' behavior and the impact it had on resources Saturday morning.
"One police officer could have left for a DUI because we still had 11, 12 other officers to handle the situation," said Young.
There were a total of 10 officers that responded to the scene.
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