By Rocky Robinson
SALINE COUNTY —A video published to Facebook of a Saline County traffic stop has racked up nearly 7 million views in a little over a week.
The video shows a man, 25-year-old Jonathan Devan Ayers, of Colorado Springs, refusing to submit identification to a Saline County Sheriff’s deputy. The video, which is a little over 20 minutes long, ends with the deputy and a Salina Police Officer breaking out a car window to arrest Ayers and a female driver.
The stop occurred on Sept. 2 on Interstate 70 in Salina.
Saline County Sheriff Roger Soldan said that the initial traffic stop was for failure to maintain a lane. When the deputy approached the passenger side of the vehicle to ask for identification, Ayers refused, saying “you are pulling us over without a crime.”
Sheriff Soldan said that it is common for officers to approach the passenger side of the vehicle while on the interstate, for safety reasons, and the deputy was initially asking for the driver’s information.
Through a small opening in the window, Ayers continued, adding “we are travelers, we don’t need identification.”
By talking over the deputy and not letting him communicate with the driver, Sheriff Soldan said that Ayers was obstructing the deputy from completing the traffic stop.
According to Kansas Statute 21-5904, interference with law enforcement is (2) “concealing, destroying or materially altering evidence with the intent to prevent or hinder the apprehension or prosecution of any person.”
The driver is also required to produce a license according to Kansas Statute 22-2402: “Stopping of suspect. (1) Without making an arrest, a law enforcement officer may stop any person in a public place whom such officer reasonably suspects is committing, has committed or is about to commit a crime and may demand of the name, address of such suspect and an explanation of such suspect’s actions.”
At around the three minute mark, Ayers and the driver, later identified as Tia Lashawn Jones, of Colorado Springs, began praying, repeating “flee from this car right now demon.”
The deputy called for backup as the couple continued praying inside the car for over 14 minutes. At one point, the deputy again knocks on the window, saying “sir, please, provide me with a driver’s license.”
At around the 20 minute mark, a Salina Police Officer can be seen near the front of the vehicle, pointing a weapon at Ayers. The Officer bangs on the hood of the car once before the deputy breaks out the window.
Salina Police say the officer was wielding a ARWEN, less lethal weapon.
Ayers and Jones began to scream as they were placed in custody.
Sheriff Soldan said that Jones was operating the vehicle with a suspended license. She is also facing interference with law enforcement and misdemeanor obstruction charges. Ayers was arrested for interference with law enforcement and obstruction.
Whenever force is used, the case goes through an internal review, according to Sheriff Soldan. “The actions they took were very appropriate,” Soldan said.
The video was picked up by “The People’s Content” Facebook page, posted with the title “Who Is In The Right And Who Is In The Wrong?” on Sept. 3.
According to the page administrator, they received the video from a third party source and did not have any information on the people involved. Since it was posted, it has been viewed 6.9 million times, shared over 63,000 times and has over 25,000 comments.