A dashboard camera video released to the public by a Mississippi police department shows one of its officers using his stun gun on a shoplifting suspect who was already handcuffed and complying with officers’ commands.
According to ABC News affiliate WTOK, officers from Meridian Police were chasing a suspected shoplifter as he drove around a Walmart parking lot in a silver van on July 16. The video begins as one of the officers in pursuit calls for back-up.
The suspect stops his vehicle, and the officer approaches him with his gun drawn. The officer opens the driver side door, and when the suspect gets out, the officer is able to handcuff him.
Back-up arrives as the first officer is detaining the suspect. The suspect is obviously complying and is not resisting arrest, but that doesn’t stop Officer Daniel Starks who hops out of his vehicle, runs over to the suspect, pushes him into the van, then strikes him on the neck with his forearm.
As if that weren’t enough, Starks exchanges a few words with the suspect and then reaches into his belt to pull out his stun gun. In his haste to show what a badass he is, he accidentally drops the stun gun on the ground.
Starks picks the stun gun up off the ground and uses it to shock the suspect—who, again, was compliant, not resisting and handcuffed—in the left shoulder.
The suspect’s knees buckle and he falls to the ground. As two officers attempt to help him get back on his feet, Starks places his hand around the man’s neck and applies pressure—a tactic that WTOK reports police use to get a suspect to stand.
The suspect manages to get on his knees, and Starks points the stun gun at him again, this time at his head.
According to WTOK, Starks was immediately suspended without pay following the incident, and on Monday he was given a final notice of termination due to use of excessive force. That notice went into effect on Wednesday.
Meridian Police Chief Benny Dubose told WTOK that his department has a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to the use of excessive force.
“It’s not something I’m proud of that’s connecting to the police department,” Dubose told WTOK in reference to the video. “By no means. I know it’s going to be a lot of feedback and a lot of negative feedback.”
Starks has not been charged with a crime, and it is unclear whether or not the shoplifting suspect was charged with anything.