A newly-released body cam video (below) shows a white police officer repeatedly using a stun gun on a black man who is in handcuffs in Balch Springs, Texas, on April 28, 2016.
An unidentified source sent the video to KDFW after an ex-Balch Springs police officer killed a 15-year-old African-American boy, Jordan Edwards, in an unrelated incident on April 29, 2017.
New York Daily News columnist and activist Shaun King tweeted the stun-gun video on May 16 with this caption: “This is the same sadistic Balch Springs Police Department that murdered #JordanEdwards tasering a handcuffed Black man for the fun of it.”
Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber expressed to KDFW his concern about the source of the video leak, and how it makes his officers look. Haber has refused to release police body cam video of Jordan’s death, reported The Washington Post.
The stun-gun video begins with the police responding to a call about a man waving a gun. Marco Stephenson is seen kneeling on the sidewalk with his hands behind his head when the police arrive.
As the 39-year-old black man complies with officers’ demands, a BB gun is kicked away by a cop. Stephenson tells the police that he is allowed to have a BB gun.
An officer tells Stephenson that he is being arrested based on the perception of a third party: “That’s the thing. It’s their perception that counts. They perceived it as a threat, so you are under arrest.”
Police handcuff Stephenson, and cut a backpack off his shoulders; a spitting sound is heard.
“You better watch it, Marco,” a cop tells Stephenson, who replies: “I spit a toothpick in the grass.”
A sergeant then uses a stun gun on Stephenson, who falls on the ground and is further stunned with the weapon.
The sergeant shouts: “Don’t pull away! You understand? You understand? Don’t pull away! You understand? Don’t pull away! You get it? You get it? Are you going to straighten up? Because I ain’t playing with you today! Do you understand?”
The sergeant’s actions were reportedly questioned by his own officers.
“We looked at it,” Haber said. “At the end of the day, they did the right thing. They brought it to our attention.”
According to Haber, the video was reviewed by the Dallas County DA’s Public Integrity Unit, Texas Rangers and Professional Standards.
“We decided together that this was an administrative issue, and not a criminal issue,” Haber added.
According to Haber, the sergeant was subsequently reprimanded, and placed on a “no contact with the public” status until he completes courses on anti-bias, conflict resolution and responding to mental health calls.
Haber did not say if Stephenson was charged with a crime for the incident, or share the name of the sergeant, but did take the liberty of sharing Stephenson’s criminal past.
“He’s been handled 37 times through Dallas County — 37 offenses,” Haber said. “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.”
Haber said on May 1 that he gave the wrong information about the fatal police shooting of the teenager, noted The Washington Post:
I unintentionally [was] incorrect when I said the vehicle was backing down the road … in fact I can tell you that I do have questions in relation to my observation [of] the video. After reviewing the video, I don’t believe that [the shooting] met our core values.
“We just hope people understand and realize that we’re out here doing these things,” Haber told KDFW. “We’re out here actually policing ourselves and making sure we’re doing the right thing.”
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