In July 2017, two Arizona police officers approached a parked Ford Taurus for a turn signal violation. Within minutes, the passenger was face down on the scorching pavement and had been tased 11 times.
On Friday, the city of Glendale released a statement on details of the incident, as well as the officer’s bodycam video, as ABC 15 News reported. The video shows the passenger, Johnny Wheatcroft, yanked out of the car by the officer, thrown to the pavement in 108-degree heat, then being tased nearly one dozen times — including in his groin.
Details in Wheatcroft’s federal lawsuit against the city of Glendale and three officers describe what can be seen by the officer’s bodycam video. Wheatcroft was in the car with his 11 and 6-year-old sons, his wife, and a family friend who also witnessed it all.
Wheatcroft was pulled from the vehicle, becoming tangled in his seatbelt. During a struggle and multiple taser hits, Officer Matt Schneider kicked Wheatcroft in the groin before pulling down his shorts and tasing him one last time in his testicles.
Jeff Noble, an attorney and former deputy chief of police in Irvine, Calif. said, “I have never seen anything like this before. It reminds me of a case in New York where an individual was sadistically taking a broom handle and shoving it up (the suspect’s) anus. This is just beyond the pale. It’s outrageous conduct.”
After viewing the footage, several law enforcement experts told ABC 15 that Schneider’s was “unlawful, potentially criminal, and one of the most cruel and troubling cases of police misconduct they’ve ever seen.”
Former LAPD detective supervisor T.T. Williams said, “That’s not even borderline. That’s inhumane.”
According to records, Schneider is still active on the Glendale Police Force and only received a 30-hour suspension for the incident.
Schneider has been awarded many times by the police chief and also made two appearances on Cops.
— ABC15 Arizona (@abc15) February 11, 2019
Legal experts agree that the case should have been prosecuted outside of Glendale.
Seth Stoughton, a former police officer said, “If he intentionally struck a passenger in the testicles, and then intentionally tased him in or near the genitals, I’m surprised he hasn’t been prosecuted. It raises half a dozen red flags that suggest the need for a thorough review, including a review to determine if the officer committed any crimes.”
Attorneys Marc Victor and Jody Broaddus filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Arizona on behalf of Wheatcroft and his wife, Anya Chapman, that alleges officers’ “excessive use of force and torture.”
Broaddus said, “No one is necessarily above the law, whether it be a priest, a police officer or any civilian on the street. No one is above the law either civilly or criminally.”
Victor said, “When I saw this video, and this has never happened to me in my legal career, I couldn’t work anymore that day. I was so disturbed.”
The irony of it all is that Wheatcroft and Chapman spent months in jail after being charged with aggravated assault on a police officer and were unable to meet bail.
Chapman was released first as she plead guilty to a lesser charge, according to her lawyers.
After prosecutors saw the video footage, they dropped all charges against Wheatcroft.