Here is a video of the incident.

Mr. George Dickerson was driving on the highway when a police officer initiated a traffic stop. When he approached the vehicle, the officer started saying "Do that shit again. Throw your car at me again and I will fucking kill you".

Is it legal for officers to threaten to kill you?

2 Answers 2


Title 5 Ch. 22 of the Texas Penal Code deems it to be assault if a person "intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person's spouse". The conditional wording of the threat does not make this an imminent threat. Another possible criminal charge is "brandishing a weapon", Sec. 46.02 technically unlawfully carrying a weapon: "A person commits an offense if the person carries a handgun and intentionally displays the handgun in plain view of another person in a public place", also disorderly conduct §42.01 if one "displays a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm". However, there are peace officer exceptions that allow police to draw their weapons while on duty. As we observed from the officer's termination the conduct is against departmental policy, but it is not criminal conduct.

  • 2
    defining the criminality of police officer actions by the lack of prosecution may not be the best standard.
    – Tiger Guy
    Mar 6, 2023 at 14:03

Depending on the situation, a police officer is allowed to use various forms of force. This ranges from lethal force on one end of the use of force continuum to verbal orders on the other end.

  • Verbal orders should be clear and understandable. (There are occasional videos where one officer yells "don't move" and another officer yells "get out of the car." Or one officer yells both ...)
  • Verbal orders may include a threat with the consequences. (The officer yells "stop struggling or I will tase you.")

It would not be helpful if an officer shouts "stop the car or I will escalate to the use of lethal force." Too long, too convoluted, too confusing.

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