Glendale, AZ — As TFTP reported, disturbing bodycam video showed Arizona cops tasering a man 11 times, including on the testicles, as his horrified family scream for them to stop. The police are now being sued for “excessive force and torture” after the cop went back on duty, having faced no accountability. However, last September, officer Matthew Schneider was hit with three criminal counts of aggravated assault after body camera footage went viral. The charges came after Schneider quietly resigned in 2020.
The victim, Johnny Wheatcroft and his family sued the city of Glendale who argued its officers were entitled to qualified immunity. They asked U.S. District Judge Michael Liburdi to issue summary judgment in their favor.
But this week, Liburdi used common sense and rejected the city's motion.
“Under the version of facts as told by plaintiffs, Wheatcroft offered no resistance to the officers,” Liburdi wrote. “The videos of the incident reflect Wheatcroft verbally telling the officers he is not resisting.”
After years of seeking justice for the utterly horrifying event, the Wheatcroft family may finally have their day in court as the case now advances to a jury trial.
The nightmare torture scenario began when Glendale police officers approached a vehicle for an alleged turn signal violation in July 2017. It would later be revealed that officers had no proof of any signal violation as they couldn't see the car, which means they fabricated the violation just to harass this family. Wheatcroft was in the front passenger seat, while his wife Anya Chapman and their 11 and six-year-old sons sat in the back. A friend of the family was driving.
Officers Matt Schneider and Mark Lindsey asked Wheatcroft for his ID and he inquired why he had to show it, as he was not driving the vehicle. According to Arizona state law, because Wheatcroft was a passenger in the vehicle, he had no legal requirement to show his ID. But this cop couldn't have cared less about the law.
Police then falsely accused Wheatcroft of stuffing something in his backpack, and, after pressing the taser against his arm and telling him to “relax,” Schneider twisted Wheatcroft’s arm behind his back and pulled him from the car while still restrained by his seat belt. The entire time, Wheatcroft never resisted, but he was still wrapped around the car's seat belt which made the sadistic officer apply even more force.
The officer began tasering him when he was half out of the vehicle, before they pulled him to the ground and continued to tase him. Even after Wheatcroft was dragged on the ground towards the back of the car, his feet remained entangled in the seat belt. His older son leaned into the front seat to open the belt to free his father, prompting Schneider to shout at him, causing the boy to burst into tears.
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Glendale police said in a statement that Wheatcroft “exhibited verbal non-compliance by refusing to identify himself and failed to obey the officer’s instructions.”
Horrifyingly, Schneider is next seen pulling Wheatcroft’s shorts down and placing the taser on the handcuffed man’s testicles. The lawsuit filed by the couple reports Schneider tased his testicles and perineum. He then placed the taser on his penis and said, “You want it again? Shut your mouth. I’m done f*cking around with you.”
But it wasn't over yet, another officer held a handgun to his head as Wheatcroft was kicked in the groin by Schneider. The entire scene looked like something out of a Hollywood film. Sadly, however, it was very real for Wheatcroft and his wife and children.
According to the suit and the officer’s own admission, the officers used a “drive stun” method, in which the taser is pressed against a person before being fired. Glendale police also released a 30 second CCTV video of the incident taken from a distance.
The pair were arrested and charged with aggravated assault and physically resisting arrest. They were both in jail for months as they couldn’t afford bail before Chapman pled guilty to a lesser charge so she could be released to look after her children.
Wheatcroft’s charges were eventually dismissed by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office after prosecutors saw the bodycam video which proved his innocence.
Below are the key discrepancies highlighted by board staff about Schneider's role in this torture:
- Schneider claimed he pulled over the vehicle for a blinker violation. But building surveillance video shows Schneider’s police SUV could not have seen the violation because it was in a back alley and out of sight.
- Schneider told Wheatcroft he needed to provide identification as the passenger in the vehicle or he would be taken to the station and fingerprinted. But state law did not require Wheatcroft to provide identification.
- Schneider claimed that Wheatcroft was not wearing a seatbelt. However, video clearly shows Wheatcroft was wearing a seatbelt.
- Schneider told investigating officers that Wheatcroft fought and kicked officers the entire time. But Wheatcroft never appeared to be the aggressor.
The board's findings and what the Glendale police found were in stark contrast. After the original incident in 2017, Schneider was suspended for just three days for the level of force used and then returned to duty. As you watch the video below, remember that this horrifying event was carried out by men sworn to protect and serve, who cared not about the rights of a father or the lives of his children.