Man sues two Glendale police officers for abuse of force after being tased 11 times just for violating traffic rules
The man was pulled out of his car and humiliated in front of his wife and children who had to watch the terrifying incident when he was being tased.
Johnny Wheatcroft is suing two Glendale police officers, Matt Schneider, and Mark Lindsey on charges of excessive use of force and torture. The pair of officers had pulled over Wheatcroft on July 27, 2018, when he was driving a silver Ford Taurus. The officers pulled over the car which Wheatcroft was driving, along with his wife, a friend, and his two young sons, aged 11 and six, for an alleged turn in traffic rules violation.
What could have been a simple interaction between the officers and the civilians soon took a very violent turn, where Wheatcroft was handcuffed. He was pulled out of the car and made to lie down facing the hot asphalt on a 108-degree day. What was even humiliating, the officers were tasing Wheatcroft for the violation, which seemed completely unnecessary. He had already been tased at least 10 times, as Officer Schneider kneeled behind him and kicked him in the groin. He pulled down his athletic shorts in order to tase him a final time in his testicles, as can be seen in the body-camera footage obtained by ABC15.
This horrifying incident took place in front of his wife, the 34-year-old Anya Chapman, and his two boys. The 34-year-old was also charged with aggressive behavior towards Officer Lindsey whom she tried to hit in the head with a bag full of bottles. The police issued a statement saying that this knock rendered Officer Lindsey unconscious. Following this more force was called in and the couple was compelled to spend months in prison as they were not able to afford bail, but the charges were dismissed by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office after prosecutors saw the body camera footage themselves. After reviewing the incident, multiple law enforcement experts were of the opinion that the officers' conduct was unlawful, even potentially criminal, and probably one of the cruelest acts of misconduct ever seen.
@MayorWeiers “I have never seen anything like this before,” said Jeff Noble, an attorney and former deputy chief of police in Irvine, Calif., who’s testified in hundreds of cases including Tamir Rice and Philando Castile.— mikey (@MikeyAllan) February 9, 2019
Jeff Noble, attorney and former deputy chief of police in Irvine, California, mentioned, "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.” A similar tone of shock and disbelief was found in former LAPD detective supervisor T.T. Williams, who had earlier played the role of an expert witness in the Philip Brailsford case on behalf of the prosecution, "That’s not even borderline. That’s inhumane.”
Why protect this officer? In a profession that requires life and death decision-making daily, this is appauling. He should be fired and lose all of his benefits, and spend time in jail for assault. The department is clearly lying to the public. What a joke.— Dave (@KindPowder) February 9, 2019
However, Schneider was suspended for a brief period of 30 hours and he continues to remain an active officer in the force. Seth Stoughton, a former police officer who’s now an attorney and professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, was taken aback at the lack of sincerity of the case, as he 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.” On February 8, the Glendale Police Department released the following statement.
The police in their defense have mentioned in the statement that while detaining Wheatcroft, his non-compliance coupled with his wife hitting the other officer on the head and the unknown threat from within the vehicle, Officer Schneider deployed his taser.