Gov. Doug Ducey urges prosecutors to reopen Glendale stun gun case
PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey called on Maricopa County prosecutors to reopen the investigation into a 2017 incident when a Glendale officer used a stun gun on a man about 11 times, including at least once in his genital area.
Ducey called the incident “completely unacceptable” and said it did not “represent the law enforcement that I know” in Arizona.
“It seems to me that the investigation was whitewashed,” Ducey told reporters on Wednesday. “I’d love to see the county attorney’s office reopen the investigation and get to the bottom of what happened there and hold people accountable.”
Later in the day, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said it asked the FBI to review the case.
“After having personally reviewed all available video evidence, I have determined further investigation is warranted,” Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said in a press release.
“In order to ensure the public’s confidence in any future determination of whether the use of force was lawful, review by an uninvolved agency is appropriate.”
Johnny Wheatcroft, 37, is suing the city of Glendale and officers Matt Schneider, Mark Lindsey and Michael Fernandez, claiming excessive force in the July 26, 2017, incident.
Amanda Steele, a spokeswoman with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, told KTAR News 92.3 FM that prosecutors determined in 2017 that there was “no likelihood of conviction due to the totality of the events leading to the arrest.”
They also determined “at that time the actions of the officer also did not meet the charging standard of reasonable likelihood of conviction.”
Body camera footage of the arrest was first released to the public last Friday, sparking outrage from the community.
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 stun gun on Wheatcroft in front of his young children, wife and friend.
Schneider was briefly suspended after the incident but is still employed with the department.
Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers said in a statement Tuesday that the city’s top priority is “public safety — expectation of transparency and accountability.
“I believe that it is imperative that we hold our police officers to the highest professional standards and our citizens have every right to expect nothing less.”
There was no monetary amount detailed in the lawsuit. Wheatcroft’s attorney Marc Victor said he expects the case to go to trial, even though a date has not been set.
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