An Arizona man is suing a suburban Phoenix police department for excessive force after he claims officers used a Taser on him 11 times, including purposefully on his testicles. The Glendale Police Department denies many of the claims.
The July 27, 2017, incident was captured on police body cameras and nearby surveillance cameras. Glendale police released redacted footage of the arrest only after Johnny Wheatcroft's attorney held a news conference on Monday, announcing the federal lawsuit and releasing the unredacted footage himself.
The suit says that Glendale police approached Wheatcroft, his wife, two children and a friend in a car outside a motel, then proceeded to insist on seeing identification without probable cause.
Soon after, according to the body camera footage, an officer grabs Wheatcroft's arm and then begins using a Taser on him while the man's children can be heard screaming in the background.
Police said Wheatcroft's wife, Anya Chapman, threw a bag full of soda cans out of the car window as her husband was being attacked, hitting another officer in the head and knocking him briefly unconscious.
Video released by police appears to show a white object being thrown from the window as the officer falls to the ground.
Glendale police held a briefing late Monday afternoon with news reporters but declined to allow any audio or video recording, citing the ongoing civil lawsuit.
They acknowledged that the officer used excessive force at times but said he was justified to use the Taser on Wheatcroft at other times during the encounter when he was resisting arrest.
Wheatcroft's attorney said his client never resisted arrest and had been doing nothing wrong.
"In total, Mr. Wheatcroft was tased approximately 11 times," attorney Marc Victor said Monday.
The body camera footage appears to show the officer pulling down Wheatcroft's pants as he lay handcuffed on the ground, then putting a Taser between his legs. The police department disputed that claim, saying Wheatcroft's pants were pulled down accidentally and that he was zapped in the thigh.
Anya Chapman was arrested for assaulting a police officer. Her husband also was arrested and spent several months in jail before prosecutors dropped the charges.
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