On July 27, 2017, Johnny Wheatcroft was a passenger in a car approached by Glendale, Arizona police officers due to a turn signal violation. The silver Ford Taurus had just pulled into a parking space at the local Motel 6 where Johnny and his family planned to stay.
Due to a quick escalation which, in my view, was bolstered by the patrolman at Johnny’s door, the scene transformed into something ghastly.
As his crying sons — ages 6 and 11 — watched in horror, Johnny was tased ten times. While one cop held him to the asphalt in the 108-degree heat, Officer Matt Schneider kicked him in the groin.
For a final egregious assault, Schneider then pulled down Johnny’s underwear and tased him in his testicles. This, according to bodycam evidence and a federal lawsuit, as reported by ABC 15.
Channel 15 states that multiple law enforcement experts — upon viewing the footage — have agreed the policemen’s actions were criminal as well as “one of the most cruel and troubling cases of law enforcement misconduct they’ve ever seen.”
Irvine, California attorney Jeff Noble, who previously served as a deputy police chief, was stunned:
“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.”
T.T. Williams, former LAPD detective supervisor, concurred:
“That’s not even borderline. That’s inhumane.”
Officer Matt Schneider was suspended for only 30 hours. He’s still an active member of the Glendale department. In addition to appearing twice as a rep for the station on the television show Cops, he’s been awarded multiple times by the area’s chief of police.
A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Johnny Wheatcroft in the U.S. District Court of Arizona. It claims he and his wife — driver Anya Chapman — were subjected to a constitutional violation of rights in addition to “excessive use of force and torture.”
Johnny and Anya were arrested for aggravated assault on an officer. Unable to afford bail, they spent months in jail.
Please watch the video below, and share your thoughts. This is a topic about which — as I’ve seen before (here and here) — many of you have a great deal of insight, experience, and opinion. I look forward to learning from you.
In my view, Schneider’s actions resembled a Gestapo stop more than an American police encounter. Johnny was wiry and perhaps suspicious in his behavior — he certainly didn’t help himself. Still, those hired and trained to enforce the law should be far above the violence exhibited in the video.
Am I right? I look forward to hearing from you.
For me, the most disturbing component of videos such as this isn’t what the abusive policeman does, but the fact that no other officers attempt to stop him. What does that say about the general disposition of that particular department? It isn’t reassuring.
Having said that, obviously, no single cop’s actions should be taken as an indication of American law enforcement at large.
The Glendale situation was in part sparked by Johnny — a passenger — not having his drivers license.
Please view the video in its entirety — but be warned of the explicit language and disturbing events it reveals.
As per KNXV-TV:
Since ABC15 first reported this story (on February 8th), the Maricopa County Attorney has asked the FBI to review the actions of the officers involved. Gov. Doug Ducey also called for the investigation to be reopened.
Find all my RedState work here.
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