GLENDALE (3TV/CBS 5) -- A couple is suing the Glendale Police Department, accusing its officers of using excessive force during a traffic stop in July 2017. Graphic body camera video of the incident was obtained by Arizona’s Family Friday evening.
According to Glendale PD, Officers Matt Schneider and Mark Lindsey approached a car in a parking lot in July of 2017. There were five people inside -- three adults and two children.
[RAW VIDEO: Body cam video of incident involving Glendale PD]
Johnny Wheatcroft and Anya Chapman were passengers in the vehicle, along with their two children.
Wheatcroft, who was in the front passenger seat, and Chapman, who was sitting behind the driver alongside the children, are the ones who filed a complaint on behalf of themselves and their children.
The situation started as a traffic stop but took a turn.
“Upon contact, officers discovered that the driver did not have a driver’s license and began to address an observed seat belt violation,” according to Glendale PD.
Wheatcroft declined to identify himself to the officer, asking why they were being questioned. Wheatcroft's lawyer says the car was in park at the time, and it is not illegal to refuse identifying yourself to an officer if you are the passenger in a vehicle.
Glendale PD said 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.”
The officers tried to “remove Mr. Wheatcroft from the vehicle,” according to a news release from Glendale PD, but he “continued to argue, yell and physically resist the officers’ control holds.”
The officers deployed their Tasers, stunning Wheatcroft into submission.
In the video Wheatcroft is tangled in his seatbelt as officers try to drag him away from the vehicle.
“While officers attempted to detain Mr. Wheatcroft, Anya Chapman swung a bag filled with bottled drinks, striking Officer Lindsey in the head, rendering him unconscious,” according to GPD.
Schneider called for backup, police said.
Wheatcroft's attorney says at that point in the video, Schneider pulls Wheatcroft's shorts down and Tases him in the testicles. That video shows officers turn Wheatcroft over on his side as Schneider appears to put the Taser again on his gentials, shouting “Keep fighting and you’re going to get it again! You want it again? Shut your mouth! I’m done f****** around with you!”
Glendale Police Department's statement leaves out this portion, saying instead: "As multiple officers arrived on scene, they tended to the injured officer and helped detain Mr. Wheatcroft as he was continuing to resist officers by kicking and screaming. Glendale PD. “Mr. Wheatcroft was eventually able to be calmed down, and he and Anya Chapman were taken into custody without further incident.”
Wheatcroft had been Tased nearly a dozen times at this point, and claimed was having trouble breathing.
Police said paramedics took a look at everyone involved in the incident. Wheatcroft, according to Glendale PD, refused treatment. The officer who was knocked out was taken to the hospital “and returned to full duty several days later.”
Both were charged with aggravated assault on a police officer. Wheatcroft remained jailed for several months, until his charges were dropped completely. Chapman pleaded guilty.
Wheatcroft and Chapman filed a complaint in court in July 2018, a year later. That complaint lays out a different version of events and alleges that the officers’ “conduct was engaged in with intent to cause injury, was wrongful conduct motivated by spite or ill will or the involved officers acted to serve their own interests, having reason to know and consciously disregarding a substantial risk that their conduct might significantly injure the rights of others ….”
According to court documents, Chapman and her children “watched helplessly while their husband and father was repeatedly tortured and arrested ….”
The Glendale Police Department also sent us surveillance video.
[RAW VIDEO: Surveillance video of incident involving Glendale PD]
A Glendale PD spokeswoman said Schneider, the officer who Tased Wheatcroft after he "was handcuffed and no longer resisting," was suspended for 30 working hours, which is three days.