Man being tased
On July 27, 2017, 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.

The stop was for an alleged turn signal violation.

Minutes later, Wheatcroft was handcuffed lying face down on the hot asphalt on a 108-degree day. He'd already been tased 10 times, with one officer kneeling on his back as another, Officer Matt Schneider, kicked him in the groin and pulled down his athletic shorts to tase him a final time in his testicles, according to a federal lawsuit and body camera footage obtained by ABC15.

The scene was witnessed by his 11- and 6-year-old sons.

Warning: Disturbing and violent footage


Multiple independent law enforcement experts, who agreed to review the incident, said the officers' conduct was unlawful, potentially criminal, and one of the most cruel and troubling cases of police misconduct they've ever seen.

"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 including Tamir Rice and Philando Castile. " It reminds me of a case in New York where an individual was sadistically taking a broom handle and shoving it up (the suspect's) anus. This is just beyond the pale. It's outrageous conduct."

Former LAPD detective supervisor T.T. Williams echoed his shock.

"That's not even borderline," said Williams, an expert witness who testified in the Philip Brailsford case on behalf of the prosecution. "That's inhumane."

Schneider was suspended for 30 hours and remains an active officer on the force, records show.

Officer Matt Schneider

Officer Matt Schneider
The experts said it was appalling that Officer Schneider, who has won multiple awards from the police chief and has represented Glendale twice on the TV show Cops, was not terminated. They also believe Glendale should have referred the case for outside criminal investigation and prosecution.

"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."

On February 8, the Glendale Police Department released the following statement:
See statement here

In addition to the statement, Glendale PD released 30 seconds of surveillance video showing the incident:


The release is full of omissions and information that does not match up with the departments own records.

Read more on our analysis of their statement here.

But the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of Arizona by attorneys Marc Victor and Jody Broaddus, alleges that the officers violated the constitutional rights of Wheatcroft and his wife, Anya Chapman, and engaged in the "excessive use of force and torture."

"No one is necessarily above the law, whether it be a priest, a police officer or any civilian on the street. No one is above the law either civilly or criminally," said Broaddus.

When I saw this video, and this has never happened to me in my legal career, I couldn't work anymore that day. I was so disturbed," Victor said.

Wheatcroft and Chapman, who were arrested and charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, spent months in jail after the incident because they couldn't afford bail.

Chapman agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge in order to get home to her children, her attorneys said.

The charges against Wheatcroft were dismissed by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office after prosecutors saw the body camera video.

Wheatcroft, who's currently in prison on an unrelated burglary charge stemming from a copper wire theft, was not available for comment.

For independent analysis, ABC15 spoke with three former law enforcement officers, who testify as expert witnesses in police use-of-force cases across the country: Williams, Noble, and Stoughton.

ABC15 traveled to southern California to interview Williams and Noble in person. Stoughton was interviewed over the phone.

See entire article here