Montana State University’s police department is conducting an internal investigation regarding comments an officer made to a woman during a traffic stop on Wednesday.

Officer Angela Roundtree said to Krystle Saatjian during a traffic stop on Kagy Avenue, “this isn’t where you came from,” according to a video Saatjian recorded and posted to Facebook.

Roundtree has been placed on administrative duties and will not have contact with the public during the investigation, according to MSU police chief Frank Parrish.

Roundtree made the comment after Saatjian said to another officer there, Josh Falkos, “no, trust me, sir, this is unpleasant for me.” That’s the only comment made by Roundtree caught on the video before she leaves the frame. Saatjian continued to talk with Falkos — whom she said was professional — for another two minutes.

In an interview Friday, Saatjian said she felt Roundtree was being unnecessarily aggressive, and that the comment was referencing her race.

“I want people to know that this is about anyone — not just because I’m a black woman — it’s not O.K. for police officers to intimidate and threaten,” Saatjian said.

Parrish said he reviewed Saatjian’s video Friday and the video recorded by the officers’ body cameras. He said he is “extremely disappointed” by Roundtree’s behavior. He said there was more to the story than what appeared in the Facebook video, but that regardless, the officer’s response was not acceptable.

“We’ve worked so hard to build a department that cares about this community, and it’s hurtful when we see something like an officer lose control,” Parrish said.

Parrish said the investigation would likely take less then a week and would determine any disciplinary action.

Michael Becker, MSU spokesperson, said the university does not approve of the officer’s behavior during the interaction.

“We expect our officers to maintain a professional demeanor no matter what,” Becker said.

Becker said that MSU police officers receive crisis intervention training designed to teach them how to de-escalate intense situations. He said the behavior displayed in the video is not consistent with that training.

Saatjian said she plans to file a complaint with the Montana Human Rights Bureau, a division of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry. The agency is charged with enforcing Montana laws that prohibit discrimination.

The agency had not yet received a formal complaint from Saatjian on Friday, according to spokesperson Lauren Lewis.

Saatjian said the incident began when she was pulled over at around 3:30 p.m. while driving on Kagy Boulevard. Falkos came to her window and told her she was driving 48 mph in a 35 mph zone. She said she told the officer didn’t think she had been driving that fast.

Then, Saatjian said, Roundtree arrived. Saatjian said she told the officers she was going to use her phone’s camera to record the interaction.

“I started to feel a little uneasy because of what’s going on in the U.S.,” Saatjian said, referencing cases of police brutality against people of color.

Saatjian said the camera “seemed to infuriate” Roundtree. Saatjian said the officer said something like, “you aren’t from around here,” and that Saatjian responded she’s lived in Bozeman for 10 years.

When the comment was made a second time, which can be heard in the video, Saatjian responds that she can see a lawsuit coming for MSU and the police department. Falkos responds, as heard in the video, that “none of this is motivated by race, I am treating you exactly the same as anybody else.” Roundtree had left the frame immediately after making the comment.

Saatjian asked how she is supposed to take Roundtree’s comment, and Falkos said he can’t speak for anybody else.

In the video, Saatjian said to Falkos she felt threatened as a black woman by Roundtree’s comment. Falkos said to Saatjian that other officers were on scene during the traffic stop because it was obvious that Saatjian was uncomfortable around a white man.

Falkos then told Saatjian he wouldn’t be citing her, and that he hadn’t planned on citing her for speeding. Falkos asked if she would like to speak to a supervisor, and then told her he respected her and her safety.

Saatjian said she appreciated that Falkos was calm and polite throughout the interaction, and that she couldn’t say enough good things about him. She takes issue with how she was treated by Roundtree, and would like to see disciplinary action taken against the officer.

“I’ve never had a run in with an officer of this magnitude,” Saatjian said.

Shaylee Ragar can be reached at sragar@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2607.

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