A traffic stop for an alleged turn signal violation lead to a man being tased 11 times in front of his children. The incident occurred on July 27, 2017 when Johnny Wheatcroft was a passenger in a silver Ford Taurus when a pair of Glendale police officers pulled in front them in a Motel 6 parking lot.
[Scroll down for video]
Within moments, Wheatcroft was handcuffed, lying face down on hot asphalt during a 108-degree day having been tased 10 times, Officer Matt Schneider allegedly kicked him in the groin, pulled down his shorts and tased him one final time in his testicles according to a federal lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court.
The scene was witnessed by Wheatcroft’s 11- and 6-year-old sons.
The incident has been reviewed by numerous independent law enforcement experts who have near universal condemnation – calling the officer’s conduct unlawful and potentially criminal. Some calling it among the most troubling cases they’ve heard of.
“I have never seen anything like this before,” said Jeff Noble, an attorney and former deputy chief of police in Irvine, Calif., who’s testified in hundreds of cases. “This is just beyond the pale. It’s outrageous conduct.”
Former LAPD detective supervisor T.T. Williams echoed his shock, saying “That’s not even borderline. That’s inhumane.”
“If he intentionally struck a passenger in the testicles, and then intentionally tased him in or near the genitals, I’m surprised he hasn’t been prosecuted,” said Seth Stoughton, a former police officer who’s now an attorney and professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law. “It raises half a dozen red flags that suggest the need for a thorough review, including a review to determine if the officer committed any crimes.”
Each of the experts expressed shock that Officer Schneider, who has represented the Glendale Police Department twice on the TV show Cops, was not terminated. Instead the officer was suspended for a total of 30 hours and has resumed patrol duties with the department.
An internal affairs investigation of the incident shows Glendale PD’s own investigator determined there were problems with the incident, stating “the subject was compliant and didn’t resist arrest”.
All charges against Wheatcroft were dismissed by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office after prosecutors saw the body camera video.
There was also surveillance video of the scene, as released by ABC 15 in Phoenix, Arizona.