An Arizona man is alleging that members of the Glendale police department tased him eleven times during a “vicious and evil” traffic stop. Newly released body camera footage from the July 2017 encounter is disturbing and shows police tasing Johnny Wheatcroft in his genitals as he struggles to get out of his seatbelt to remove himself from the vehicle.
Wheatcraft is now suing the Glendale Police Department.
According to the police, the vehicle was pulled over because of a turning violation. Wheatcroft was not driving the vehicle and was in the passenger seat at the time of the incident. The car also contained his 5- and 11-year-old songs and their mother in the back seat.
In the newly unearthed body camera footage, officers can be heard asking Wheatcroft for his identification and became suspicious that he was hiding evidence in the car. Police said they found a “usable quantity of methamphetamine within the vehicle.”
In a statement, the Glendale police said that “For the safety of themselves and those around them, including the minor children, the officers attempted to remove Mr. Wheatcroft from the vehicle so they could maintain a safe eye on him for the duration of the traffic stop as well as conduct a pat down for weapons.”
A lawsuit against the police department said that there was no probable cause to suspect that Wheatcroft was up to anything illegal. When asked for identification, Wheatcroft asked why, which is when Officer Schneider threatened to take him into custody. The situation quickly escalated as Officer Matt Schneider took out his stun gun while another officer handcuffed Wheatcroft. Wheatcroft’s lawyer calls the entire incident “unlawful, unprovoked, unwarranted, unjustified, callous, depraved, vicious and evil.”
The lawsuit alleges that Wheatcroft was never asked to exit the vehicle, “rather, Defendant Schneider reached inside the vehicle and opened the passenger door of the vehicle and place a Taser between Plaintiff Johnny Wheatcroft’s neck and right shoulder.” He would fire the taser multiple times, including shots to Wheatcroft’s genitals, as he yelled at him to stop resisting.
The Glendale Police Department said that, upon review of the officers’ actions, one of the officers involved was disciplined.
In a video from the incident, one can see Wheatcroft struggling to get out of the vehicle as he is tased. He gets stuck in his seatbelt as the officers continue to try to pull him from the car. At one point, he alleges that an officer pulled down his pants to tase him in his genitals.
Wheatcroft and his wife were both charged with aggravated assault. While Wheatcroft’s wife pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, the charges against him were dismissed. The lawsuit says, “Defendants wrongfully arrested and charged Plaintiff Johnny Wheatcroft with resisting arrest and aggravated assault and, as a result, he spent months in jail before the charges were dismissed. All charges against Plaintiff Johnny Wheatcroft were dismissed given the lack of any basis to support the claims.” His lawsuit is seeking compensatory and punitive damage, plus attorneys’ fees.