A video leaked to a local news station shows white police officers in Balch Springs – the Texas city where an officer was recently fired and charged with murder after fatally shooting an unarmed 15-year-old who was a passenger in a car – using a Taser repeatedly on a handcuffed black man.
The man, Marco Stephenson, can be seen in handcuffs being held by one officer, while another officer sticks a Taser in his side and uses it on him. He falls to the ground and the officer fires the Taser again for several seconds.
“Don’t pull away. Don’t pull away. Do you get it? Do you get it?” the officer asks Stephenson, who responds “Yes sir.”
The officer then tells Stephenson, “Are you going to straighten up? Because I ain’t playing with you today. Now we’re going to get up and you aren’t going to do anything stupid again, you understand?”
You can watch the video below:
Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber said the incident was already investigated. He did expressed concern about the timing of the video being made public in the wake of the Jordan Edwards shooting. He told the news station he is concerned about how the video might affect the perception of his officers.
Haber also put the blame on Stephenson, who appeared to be complying with the officers and was being restrained in handcuffs and by two officers when he was hit with the stun gun.
“He’s been handled 37 times through Dallas County — 37 offenses,” the police chief told the news station. “He’s been arrested or booked into the Dallas County Jail 17 times. He’s been booked in through our facility 19 times and I think 33 separate offenses.”
Police told KDFW they were called to the neighborhood for a report of a man waving a gun and came upon Stephenson. He was found to be in possession of a BB gun.
Haber said the sergeant’s actions were questioned by his officers and it was referred to the Texas Rangers, Professional Standards and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit.
“We looked at it. At the end of the day, they did the right thing. They brought it to our attention,” Haber said. “We decided together that this was an administrative issue, not a criminal issue.”
Haber said the sergeant received a reprimand was put on a “no contact with the public” order until he completed classes on conflict resolution, anti-bias and how to deal with mental health calls, the news station reports.
Stephenson did not file a complaint with the department.
“We just hope people understand and realize that we’re out here doing these things,” Haber told the news station. “We’re out here actually policing ourselves and making sure we’re doing the right thing.”
The Justice Department has launched investigation into the Jordan Edwards shooting and this incident could be included in that probe, the news station reports.
The Balch Springs Police Department posted a statement about the video on Facebook:
Balch Springs PD is aware of the incident that occurred in 2016. The video was reviewed by the highest and prestigious Law Enforcement agency in Texas and that was the Texas Ranger Division. It was determined charges would not be filed against the Balch Springs Police Officer after the video was reviewed by an independent agency and an internal review was conducted.
With recent events we understand we are under the microscope from the public eye, and that is why we will continue to serve our community as we have done in the past. We understand people are upset and angry from the video that occurred in 2016 and we have made changes and corrections to better serve our community.
We invite those who want to make a difference to come and join or Police Department to grow and help us regain the public’s trust.