She Was Swarmed by Police for a Gun She Didn't Have. Was the 911 Call a False Report?

A Quincy driver spoke with the NBC10 Boston Investigators about her nerve-wracking encounter with police after a 911 caller reported she "flashed a gun" and drove erratically along a South Shore highway.

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Felita Morrison opened the door of her car on the morning of May 2 to buy a coffee on her way to church.

Almost immediately, a police officer ordered her to stop and get back into the driver’s seat.

"Even to talk about it brings me back," Morrison told the NBC10 Boston Investigators. "It makes me emotional because it's really scary."

As several other police cars converged around Morrison, a Black woman from Quincy, Massachusetts, she wondered what would prompt such a heavy police response. It seemed like something much more serious than the typical traffic stop.

Minutes earlier, Morrison had passed another vehicle that was driving slower than her along Route 3A.

"I would have never thought anything of it," she recalled. "It was an everyday occurrence on the road."

But that's not how the other driver saw it. Audio of a 911 call the NBC10 Boston Investigators obtained tells a much different story.

During the eight-minute call, the driver gave a description of Morrison's vehicle and followed it as she passed from Quincy into Weymouth.

"He flashed a gun. He's got a red-hooded sweatshirt and he's got glasses," the caller said. "This guy is not playing with a full deck. He almost ran three cars off the road on the Fore River Bridge. I think this guy is a lunatic."

The dispatcher then asked again about the firearm and the caller replied, "He flashed what appeared to be a gun, correct."

As officers searched her vehicle and purse, Morrison finally learned what prompted the police response: the 911 caller had described seeing a weapon.

"Wow, are you freaking kidding me?!" Morrison exclaimed in police dashcam video the NBC10 Boston Investigators obtained. She then told officers she does not have a license to carry a firearm and said she felt very upset about the experience.

"With the climate going on today, to say that I waved a weapon? He lied about everything, and it's terrible," said Morrison. "You could've destroyed a family. This could have gone all kinds of bad."

Morrison credited Hingham police officers for remaining calm and respectful throughout the ordeal. At one point, an officer retrieved her coffee order from Starbucks.

NBC10 Boston legal analyst Michael Coyne said it can be difficult to differentiate between a caller making a mistake instead of intentionally providing incorrect information.

Coyne also said pursuing charges for filing a false report is rare because police don't want to discourage the public from contacting them during a potential emergency.

"That's the tough call here," Coyne said. "You're going to have to show they knowingly made the false report. And what that really means under the law is we've got to get into their head."

After reviewing the material NBC10 Boston gathered, Coyne said the caller sounded credible for the majority of the 911 call. However, he said the caller's cooperation seemed to turn toward the end of the exchange.

According to the audio, the caller was initially reluctant to meet with officers to provide a statement about what he observed. He eventually told the dispatcher he would meet them at the Hingham Shipyard, but did not show up.

Hingham police later reached him by phone the next day where he reiterated seeing what he "perceived to be a gun," according to the incident report.

The NBC10 Boston Investigators wanted to connect with the caller about what he observed along Route 3A, but his name was redacted from the police report.

When asked about pursuing charges for filing a false report, Lt. Steven Dearth said police did not have enough evidence to meet that legal threshold.

"If we proved that someone intentionally lied about a crime that didn't occur to draw a police response, then that would be enough to charge," Dearth said. "In this case, we don't have it."

Morrison still believes the other driver should be held accountable for the details of the 911 call.

"If he did this once, he's going to do it again," she said. "Maybe the next time, the outcome won't be so great."

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