It sure looks to me like that cop is pointing a rifle at the guy in the Mustang. Which he shouldn’t be doing.
I thought he was doing it because he’s scared, but the more I think about it, the more it seems it’s all for show: an aggravated assault to impress the motorist or the photographer. The cop has no reason to think the driver might have evil intent.
Why do I say that?
The cop would never get that close to the driver with his rifle if he though the guy in the Mustang might have evil intent, because action beats reaction. Before the cop could get his finger on the trigger, a guy with evil intent could certainly deflect the muzzle of the rifle away from himself. He could probably grab the barrel and pull it into the car (with the cop attached, it appears, by the sling around his neck). He might even be able to get the the muzzle pointed at the belly of the Pillsbury Doughcop on the other side, all before the cop could pull the trigger.
It’s too bad the press doesn’t publish the names of cops behaving badly because what we have here is the wrong tool for the job, using the wrong tool for the job.
(H/T Mike Stuart.)