DALLAS (AP) — A video leaked to a television station shows a white Dallas-area police sergeant using a stun gun on a handcuffed black suspect, returning the same police department to the spotlight just weeks after a white officer was charged with murder in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager.
The video anonymously mailed to KDFW-TV shows an April 2016 incident in which Balch Springs police officers are responding to a call of a man waving a gun around as he walks through a neighborhood. The suspect, identified as Marco Stephenson, is on his knees with his hands behind his head when the video aired by the station Tuesday starts.
The officers kick a gun— later identified as a BB gun— away from Stephenson, handcuff him and use a utility knife to cut off his backpack strap. As the backpack comes off, the unnamed sergeant uses a hand-held stun gun to shock Stephenson twice.
The sergeant is heard saying, “Don’t pull away. You get it? You get it? Because I ain’t playing with you today.”
Balch Springs police did not immediately respond to a request from The Associated Press on Wednesday seeking body camera footage related to the arrest. A department spokesman did not immediately return a message to the AP, but department officials issued a statement Tuesday on the agency’s Facebook page.
“The video was reviewed by the Texas Ranger Division, which is the highest and most prestigious law enforcement agency in Texas,” the statement read. “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.”
Police Chief Jonathan Haber told KDFW the officer was administratively reprimanded, including being removed from interactions with the public until he had completed additional training in conflict resolution, anti-bias and responding to mental health issues.
Department officials also noted in the Facebook statement that they realize they are “under a microscope” because of recent events. Balch Springs, a Dallas suburb with nearly 24,000 residents, has a population that’s just 19 percent white but a police department that’s 80 percent white.
It’s not clear what charges, if any, Stephenson faced as a result of his arrest. A search of Dallas County court records shows he has been charged in previous cases, including an assault of a public servant charge for kicking a Balch Springs police officer in 2008.
The leaked video comes as the U.S. Department of Justice investigates possible civil rights issues related to the fatal April 29 shooting of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards by Balch Springs officer Roy Oliver.
Oliver and other officers had responded to a call for underage drinking when they heard gunshots outside. Oliver fired his service rifle at a car full of black teenagers as they drove past him to leave a party.
Edwards was struck in the head and died from his injuries. Oliver was fired, charged with murder just days later by the sheriff’s department and then released on bond after turning himself in.
A Dallas County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman confirmed last week that the Justice Department had opened an investigation, but she said it was separate from her office’s probe and she did not know its scope and focus.
The Justice Department has opened investigations into several racially charged shootings by police, including an investigation into the police department in Ferguson, Missouri, that found several systematic constitutional violations.