Glendale officer says he was knocked out during violent traffic stop
PHOENIX — A Glendale officer who was knocked unconscious during an aggressive traffic stop in 2017 that is the center of a new lawsuit provided more detail about the incident in newly released body camera video.
Officer Mark Lindsey, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit filed by 37-year-old Johnny Wheatcroft, was seen telling another officer that he was assisting Officer Matt Schneider as Wheatcroft appeared to be resisting arrest.
As he was helping with the arrest, Lindsey said he was struck above his left eye with a bag of soda bottles and cans that were full. The video was provided by Wheatcroft’s attorney, Marc Victor, on Monday.
“It kind of dazed me for a few seconds. When I stood up, I lost balance. I think at that point I fell back, striking my head on the ground,” Lindsey said while in the hospital following the incident.
“I found out that the white bag that I was struck with was a bag that was filled with soda bottles and soda cans that were full,” he added. “I never saw who did it, I just saw the white bag.”
In the initial body camera footage that was released of the incident, a white bag can be seen flung out of the vehicle around the 2:50 mark, shortly after Schneider first uses the Taser on Wheatcroft.
Lindsey can also be seen falling over around the :07 mark in surveillance video of the stop.
Wheatcroft is suing the city of Glendale, Schneider, Lindsey and Officer Michael Fernandez, claiming excessive force in the July 26, 2017, incident.
Wheatcroft was the passenger in a silver Ford Taurus that was pulled over in a Motel 6 parking lot for an alleged turn signal violation. Officers asked Wheatcroft and the driver for identification, which neither of them said they had.
The traffic stop soon turned violent once Schneider used a Taser on Wheatcroft approximately 11 times, including on his genital area, in front of his young children, wife and friend.
Victor said in a Monday press conference that his client did nothing to provoke authorities to repeatedly shock him with a stun gun, arguing that Wheatcroft had no legal requirement to provide an identification since he was not driving.
“He was wrongfully placed in a painful arm bar and was illegally arrested and handcuffed,” Victor said. “He was compliant at all times and did not resist arrest.” Victor added that his client was not in possession of anything illegal.
Glendale Police Department said in a statement to KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday that the officers were attempting to remove Wheatcroft from the car so they could “maintain a safe eye on him…as well as conduct a pat down for weapons,” but that he “physically resist the officers’ attempts to escort him.”
“Officers displayed their Tasers and warned him of potential Taser use to gain his compliance,” part of the statement read.
“However, Mr. Wheatcroft continued to argue, yell and physically resist the officers’ control holds. Due to the physical resistance from Mr. Wheatcroft, the Taser was used in a drive stun capacity in order to gain control and avoid physical injury.”
There was no monetary amount detailed in the lawsuit. Victor said he expects the case to go to trial, even though a date has not been set.
“Our position is that the jury will decide what the value of the case is worth. The video and press release speaks for itself.”
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