May 14, 2014
Monique Hernandez was pulled over in February of 2012 by Beaumont police officer, Enoch Clark. When Clark attempted to subdue Hernandez, he said she ‘resisted.’
Although the dashcam footage tells a different tale, Clark said that in order to get her in handcuffs, he had to use his department-issued JPX gunpowder-propelled pepper spray weapon and fire it less than a foot away from her face.
The gunpowder powered JPX Pepper Gun launches OC (pepper spray) at 405 mph.
The results from firing the gun at such a close proximity were catastrophic.
The blast of pepper gel sliced her right eye in half, fractured her right orbital bone and severed the optic nerve in her left eye.
Clark was indicted on four felony counts of assault by a police officer and causing great bodily injury.
The jury is expected to begin deliberations today over whether or not Clark used excessive force in Hernandez’s arrest.
According to the Press Enterprise,
Deputy District Attorney Michael Carney on Tuesday during closing arguments showed the jury a police dashcam video in which Hernandez was seen with her hands behind her back while Clark asked about her blood alcohol concentration. Clark told her to stop resisting or he would “JPX” her. Hernandez told Clark she wasn’t resisting.
As Clark attempted to handcuff Hernandez, the video shows Clark shining a laser toward her face and firing a double-barrel charge of pepper spray.
Hernandez’s family audibly gasped in the courtroom. Hernandez sat in the second row of the courtroom and had to be escorted in and out of court.
Clark no longer works for the city of Beaumont or the Police Department. Hernandez has filed a lawsuit for damages against Clark and the Police Department. That lawsuit, being heard in Los Angeles, is separate from the criminal trial.
“Every single day, she goes to bed at night, dreaming of a time when she used to be able to see,” Carney said. “When Monique Hernandez wakes up, the world is still dark because her sight was violently taken from here. Her eyeballs were literally blown into pieces, and the person who did this was a police officer.”
Enoch Clark, 38, could face more than 20 years in prison if convicted of the disabling assault.