Remember that Texas police officer who was caught on video spraying pepper spray into the road as motorcyclists passed by? He now admits he did it, but claims it was because he could not safely approach the truck he’d just pulled over.
Local Dallas news station NBCDFW obtained the official documents from the investigation into Officer W. Figueroa regarding the incident, which occurred on the 287 North near Rosedale Street, in Fort Worth, Texas.
The report contained the officer’s reasoning for his actions:
“...multiple motorcycles would not vacate the lane closest to my marked patrol car. I deployed my pepper spray into the lane closest to me, at which point approaching motorcycles began to vacate the lane, allowing me to conduct a traffic stop.”
In a message to other officers nearby, Officer Figueroa went on to say:
“287 NB is shut down by a bunch of delinquents.”
He also claimed the reason he pulled the truck over was because it was driving slowly in the center lane, and had two men in the back who were filming the motorcyclists. He also stated:
“The motorcyclists were driving on one wheel and weaving in and out of traffic not allowing motorists to pass.”
The woman driving the truck Officer Figueroa pulled over said she could see the pepper spray wafting intro traffic and that it then hit them and she started choking. Five people were treated for exposure to the spray and one man was taken to the hospital for minor injuries from the incident.
I’m at a loss for words, and don’t really know who to hate more.
As a motorcyclist, my initial reaction was to place the fault, or at least find the fault more egregious, with the police officer, because you’re all special little humans until proven otherwise in my eyes. And because I’ve been in cars where it wasn’t safe to get out of, and where I managed to wait until it was safe rather than try and assault passing traffic. Why couldn’t he have just done that, or used a baton or some other device to wave to the riders to give him room, rather than spray them and risk a crash?
After watching this video many more times than I’d like to admit, I noticed several things. Like how, even though the video is taken from behind the bars of cruiser, it starts with the familiar sound of sportbikes being revved too high.
Or how it actually looks like the rider in front of the guy wearing the camera is wheelie-ing. Or how there are guys in the bed of the truck. Or how the riders behind the bike, when the camera turns to face the cop, are sportbikes and dual sports. These guys weren’t just out for a mellow cruise.
Not that it makes the cop’s tactics justified by any means, but these guys were in fact riding like assholes (something that went unnoticed during the initial watch.) The cop didn’t react well, but it makes a little more sense why he perceived an aggressive attitude from the riders.
However, my team teaching students with emotional disorders taught me that public service professionals are the ones who are supposed to de-escalate the situation, regardless of how they feel about it. He should have known better.
Now everyone go to your room and think about what you’ve done and how you can get along better next time.
Thanks for the link, Cris!