Disturbing police body-camera videos show a Fredericksburg, Va., police officer using a Taser and pepper spray on a motionless and silent driver who was having a medical emergency, according to WTOP News.
The incident occurred on May 4 about 5 p.m. after three officers responded to multiple calls for a hit-and-run and driver traveling in the wrong direction in the northbound lanes of Jefferson Davis Highway near the University of Mary Washington pedestrian bridge, the report says.
The driver of a Hyundai, David Washington, 34, had struck a Jeep, crossed the median and hit a street sign, the report says. The car eventually came to rest in the middle of an intersection.
Body-cam video shows Cpl. Matt Deschenes and Sgt. Crystal Hill arriving at the scene with their guns drawn and screaming at the driver to put his hands up, sometimes using profanity, WTOP notes.
Officer Shaun Jurgens was third on the scene, the report says. He initially approaches the car with his gun drawn, then circles behind a police cruiser and fires a Taser.
When the Taser does not appear to fully connect with Washington, WTOP reports, Jurgens pepper-sprays Washington’s face. When Washington doesn’t get out of the car, Jurgens and Deschenes pull him out and onto the ground, where they put him in handcuffs.
Washington can be heard moaning and saying, “I can’t breathe.” The report says Washington had a stroke and was taken to a local hospital. He has since been released and is recovering, police say.
Jurgens resigned from the Fredericksburg Police Department May 14 but said in a statement to the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star that he did not violate any policies. The Police Department, however, decided that Jurgens’ use of force was not in line with department policies or training, the report says.
The department is still reviewing whether the two other officers seen in the videos, Deschenes and Hill, will face any departmental charges or reprimands. They remain on duty, according to the department, the news outlet writes.
Eric Garner, 43, a New York father of six, also said he couldn’t breathe when an officer placed him in a choke hold during an arrest on charges of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. Garner died shortly afterward. “I can’t breathe” became a rallying cry in ongoing protests against police violence directed at blacks in cities across the nation.
Watch the video here (Warning: disturbing content):
Read more at WTOP.