Police used stun gun 11 times, Arizona couple's lawsuit says

Elias Hubbard
February 11, 2019

On Friday Glendale Police released a statementdefending the excessive use of force.

Schneider was suspended for 30 hours and remains on active duty. Wheatcroft was in the passenger seat of a car-a male friend was the driver-and his wife, Anya Chapman, and their two children were in the backseat. Officers found a usable quantity of meth inside the vehicle in an investigation.

Johnny Wheatcroft, 37, was a passenger in a silver Ford Taurus that included his 11 and 6-year-old children when the vehicle was pulled over in a Motel 6 parking lot for an alleged turn signal violation. Two other back seat passengers were children ages 11 and 6. After officers made contact with the auto, both of them noticed that Wheatcroft was reaching down below the seat, and into a backpack.

A man and his wife are suing a Phoenix suburb and three of its police officers, alleging they used excessive force during a 2017 traffic stop.

However, Mr. Wheatcroft began to physically resist the officers' attempts to remove him and continued placing his hands where officers could not see them.

Defendant Glendale's officers then rolled Plaintiff Johnny Wheatcroft onto his side and began to remove the taser prongs that were embedded into his skin. Mr. Schneider then deployed his Taser, striking Mr. Wheatcroft.

The release repeatedly states that Wheatcroft resisted. Chapman reportedly swung a bag of bottles at Lindsey's head during the incident, although this can't be seen clearly in the video.

According to the suit and the police's own admission, the officers used a "drive stun" method, in which the taser is pressed against a person before being fired. He then asked for additional officers to respond. Police also found methamphetamine in the vehicle.

Wheatcroft was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer. Chapman eventually plead guilty to a lesser charge in order to get of jail and reclaim her children. Police identified the driver, but Independent Newsmedia is not providing his name as it appears he wasn't formally charged. (Wheatcroft is now back in prison for committing an unrelated burglary.) The Glendale police gave Schneider a mere three-day suspension: In a statement, the department neglected to mention the use of the taser on the groin, noting only that "a review of the officers' actions has been performed and discipline implemented regarding certain tactics used by one officer".

However, police have not publicly said what that discipline was, and are unable to comment on the situation as it is under litigation. "He'd already been tased 10 times, with one officer kneeling on his back as another, Officer Matt Schneider, kicked him in the groin and pulled down his athletic shorts to tase him a final time in his testicles, according to a federal lawsuit and body camera footage obtained by ABC15", the station reported. It seeks damages to be determined at trial.

Wheatcroft's charges were dismissed by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office after prosecutors saw the bodycam video, which his lawyers released to media outlets.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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