Cody Police Officer Put On Paid Leave After Video Of Angry Traffic Stop Goes Viral

Cody Police Department Officer Blake Stinson is now on paid leave after the public reacted to a segmented video in which he appears to yell at and aggressively handle a teen during a traffic stop.

Clair McFarland

May 27, 20235 min read

Cody Police Department Officer Blake Stinson
Cody Police Department Officer Blake Stinson (City of Cody)

The Cody Police Department has placed one of its officers on paid leave while it investigates a traffic stop where the officer’s conduct has been called into question, the department announced late Friday. 

The announcement comes after Cowboy State Daily reported about a YouTube video, stitched together from police bodycam and dash cam recordings, that shows Officer Blake Stinson and others being aggressive with and trying to pull a 17-year-old male out of a car by his arms. Stinson stopped the youth that day, Jan. 24, on suspicion of crossing in front of a pedestrian.  

Stinson spoke harshly to the teen, yelled at him and demanded that he get out of the car.  

The teen couldn’t find his registration for the vehicle, which his mother owns. He called his mom and asked for her help.  

When Stinson and another officer tried to pull the teen out of the vehicle’s open window by his arms, he yelled, “Mom! Mom!” into his cellphone.  

The stop happened in front of Cody High School as other teens were entering the school for the day, according to the teen’s mother.  

A Wyoming defense attorney called Stinson’s behavior “aggressive” and “outrageous” during a Wednesday interview with Cowboy State Daily.  

  • This image from a video showing a traffic stop shows Cody Police Officer Blake Stinson grabbing a 17-year-old driver by the neck to get him out of his vehicle.
    This image from a video showing a traffic stop shows Cody Police Officer Blake Stinson grabbing a 17-year-old driver by the neck to get him out of his vehicle. (LackLuster Via YouTube)

Paid Leave 

“This necessary step has been taken while the internal investigation is ongoing and finalized regarding the matter,” wrote the department in a press release Friday announcing the suspension, adding that the city and department are committed to “a thorough and impartial examination of the matter at hand.”

The department also said it will provide updates as appropriate and allowable by law.  

The Cody Police Department did not respond Friday afternoon to a Cowboy State Daily request for additional comment. A city of Cody spokesperson could not be reached for comment.  

A Wednesday press release by Cody Police Chief Chuck Baker warned the public to be careful when watching a video of the stop that’s been edited and has a voiceover. 

“We also ask the community to understand that some videos and social media content which show portions of the video have been edited and narrated to show selective parts of the interaction, and do not necessarily tell the whole story,” the release says. 

Watch on YouTube

‘Gave Him A Vacation’ 

The teen’s mother, Teresa Piper, was not impressed by the paid leave announcement.  

“Right. They gave him a vacation,” she told Cowboy State Daily on Friday evening. “It doesn’t surprise me, it’s very disappointing.” 

Piper said she hopes to see Stinson “held accountable for his actions.”

Piper also has filed a formal complaint about the traffic stop on her son.

She called the department’s internal investigation a waiting game and said she’s losing faith in the legal system.  

Piper said she has the full, unedited footage from the incident, but that everything relevant to the public is in the portions featured in the YouTube video.  

She said while Stinson conducted the stop and yelled at her son, none of the other officers tried to intervene.  

A 17-year-old Cody driver arrives at the Park County Detention Center after a traffic stop in late January.
A 17-year-old Cody driver arrives at the Park County Detention Center after a traffic stop in late January. (LackLuster via YouTube)

Morning Bell 

The teen was embarrassed by the incident, Piper said, especially since it happened outside Cody High School as students were entering for the day.  

“He’s dealt with a lot of stress and anxiety and, you know, embarrassment, harassment,” she said. “Other students were taking videos of it, making rumors of it.”  

Cody High School dispatched a statement that day via Facebook letting families know the police presence didn’t signal danger at school.  

“This morning there were police in front of the school with lights on for a traffic violation,” reads the statement. “All is well inside of school.”  

Piper said the school’s message indicates “how extreme the situation was.”  


Police arrested the teen for interfering with officers for refusing to get out of the vehicle when ordered. The charge was later dismissed, for what the department’s Wednesday statement calls “procedural reasons, so that the charges can be dealt with at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner.”  

Piper said the charge was dismissed in March.  

Stinson told the teen he could smell marijuana in the car, and the police later found some marijuana in the car, according to the video narrator, who claimed that the search was illegal because there was no real cause for the traffic stop.

In an interview with Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday, Piper acknowledged that there was marijuana paraphernalia in the car when it was stopped.

The original reason given for pulling the youth’s vehicle over was because he almost hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk. But in the video, the car appears to cross the intersection before the pedestrian entered his lane, the narrator said, while showing grainy dash cam video.   

 Contact Clair McFarland at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter