Balch Springs, TX — Coming just weeks after Balch Springs Police Officer Roy Oliver killed 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, was fired, and later arrested and charged with murder, another scandal has rocked the department. This time, it is torture with a taser.
Body camera footage was mailed to Fox4 News showing a Black man being tased while handcuffed. Thirty-nine-year-old Marco Stephenson was compliant, not resisting at all, and in handcuffs when the torture began.
The leaked body camera footage shows Stephenson with his hands raised above his head as officers approach. Balch Springs PD responded to a 911 call of a man brandishing a weapon.
Stephenson admitted he had a BB gun but denied threatening anyone with it. According to our experts in gang activities, criminals use BB and pellet guns to keep enemies at bay who are unaware the toys are not real.
Stephenson was handcuffed and told he was under arrest for threatening the community who'd called 911 to report him. He denied committing any crime but was, by all accounts, compliant with all officer commands.
He spit his toothpick into the grass which seemed to have set off the cops. He got a little mouthy with one of the officers (inaudible) and was immediately tased.
“Don't pull away! You understand? You understand?” an unidentified sergeant on the video said as he was tasing Stephenson. “Don't pull away! You get it?! You get it?! Because I ain't playing with you today! Do you understand?!"
"Yes sir,” answered Stephenson as he again complied with officer commands. Yet the cop kept tasering him — even after he fell to the ground.
The incident apparently raised the eyebrows of fellow officers who promptly reported the incident to the sergeant's superiors.
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According to the Chief of Police for Balch Springs, the incident was reviewed by three different entities; Texas Rangers, Professional Standards and the Dallas County DA’s Public Integrity Unit.
Chief Jonathon Haber said, "We decided together that this was an administrative issue, not a criminal issue." And since Stephenson didn't file a complaint, no charges were brought against the officer.
While the department has a vocal supporter on their side, Reverend Ronald Wright, others apparently aren't happy with the conclusions reached in the internal investigation and they are the ones who leaked the video to the press.
Wright said, "There was some things that were done that could have been kept quiet. But there was some officers that set an example of what all police departments should do."
Now the chief is looking to see who leaked the video, seemingly more concerned about the Balch Springs PD's image than with arresting another member of his police force.
Haber described Stephenson's lengthy criminal record to reporters, citing the number of times he'd been arrested and processed in the jail system. But the video, coupled with the latest killing of an unarmed innocent child, leave more questions than answers.
Why did the department choose to keep someone on its force who'd tased a handcuffed compliant man? Why after whistleblowers turned him in was he not fired? And how and why did three law enforcement agencies arrive at the conclusion no crime had been committed?
It seems Haber is more interested in finding out who leaked the video to the press and firing that person than he is concerned with protecting the civil rights and liberties of Mr. Stephenson and others like him.
According to Chief Haber, the sergeant in question was reprimanded and put on "no contact with the public" until he completed courses in conflict resolution, anti-bias, and how to respond to mental health calls. All in all, he got away with tasing a handcuffed man without losing one day's pay.
Something has to change with modern policing methods when officers are not charged for doing things to handcuffed suspects that the public cannot do to each other. Many consider it to be an example of a double standard at work for law enforcement. What would have happened had the taser killed Stephenson? Remember Graham Dyer and Gregory Towns? They weren't as lucky as Stephenson.