GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – Dozens of people gathered outside Glendale Police Department Headquarters late Monday afternoon to “protest cruel and unjustified police brutality.”
The event stems from recently released video of a Glendale police officer using his Taser on a man nearly a dozen times during a traffic stop in July 2016. Glendale police suspended Officer Matt Schneider for 30 working hours (three days) in connection with the incident.
On Friday, Arizona’s Family learned that Johnny Wheatcroft, the man who was repeatedly tased, and his wife, Anya Chapman, have filed a federal lawsuit. Their two kids were in the car at the time and saw everything.
Arizona's Family also obtained Schneider's body-cam video of the incident.
[RAW VIDEO: Body cam video of incident involving Glendale PD]
According to Glendale police, Schneider and Officer Mark Lindsey learned that the driver of the vehicle did not have a license and asked Wheatcroft, who was in the front passenger seat, to identify himself. He declined.
“Contrary to the Glendale police officers’ statements, Mr. Wheatcroft was not legally required to produce his identification,” Wheatcroft’s lawyer, Marc Victor, said during a news conference Monday afternoon.
Glendale police said in a news release that Wheatcroft did not cooperate with the officers and reached “beneath the seat into the backpack and about the vehicle in the area between the seat and the console.”
According to Glendale police, the officers tried to “remove Mr. Wheatcroft from the vehicle [but he] “continued to argue, yell and physically resist the officers’ control holds.”
Victor disputes that.
“At all times, Mr. Wheatcroft was compliant, and he did not resist arrest,” Victor said. “After being handcuffed, Mr. Wheatcroft was then slammed on to the ground and kicked in the testicles, and then repeatedly tased.”
Victor said there were several officers on the scene when it happened.
“None of them acted to prevent this incident,” he said Monday.
According to Victor, Wheatcroft was tased 11 times, “including once in the testicles after his pants were intentionally pulled down.”
Glendale released another video of the event recording by a surveillance camera some distance away.
[RAW VIDEO: Surveillance video of incident involving Glendale PD]
Wheatcroft was charged with aggravated assault on an officer and resisting arrest; he was held in jail for about two months before the prosecutor requested those charges be dismissed.
“Mr. Wheatcroft, his wife Anya, and their children remain traumatized by this event,” Victor said, explaining that he expected the lawsuit -- which was filed in 2017, a year after the incident -- to go to trial.
In addition to compensation, Victor said Wheatcroft and his family want Glendale police to fire Schneider and arrest him for assault.
They also want a civilian review board to oversee investigations in allegations of police misconduct.
“Arizonans of all walks of life are asking that people remain vigilant and engage in an active role to combat the militarization of police, abuses of power, and violations of human rights here in our state in 2019 and beyond,” reads a news release about the planned protest and rally.