Video has emerged showing a Texas officer with the Fort Worth police department pepper-spraying a group of bikers traveling past him on Sunday.
Uploaded to social media early Monday morning by a man named Chase Stone, the footage shows he and a group of about 20 other riders come upon the cop who had a red pickup truck pulled over on the highway.
The officer is seen, pepper-spray in hand, aiming the can in the direction of the bikers before discharging it into the wind. The footage then shows the bikers veer to their left in attempt to avoid the mist.
“During the big ride today we had a law enforcement officer, that looked as if he was pulling over a truck,” Stone said. “[He] stepped out of his vehicle with mace in hand and began spraying it towards the riders with intention of causing an accident!”
The Fort Worth police department said the incident occurred at about 3 p.m. in the 1500 block of U.S. Highway 287, near East Maddox Avenue.
Incident reports identify the officer as W. Figueroa who had pulled over Brittany Botella, and her passengers, “after they were blocking traffic to [record] motorcycles driving recklessly.”
Watch the raw footage:
The department says they have been made aware of the video and have launched an investigation into the matter. They say they “take any complaint of officer misconduct very seriously.”
“An investigation was begun immediately upon receipt of the video this morning,” Fort Worth Cpl. Tracey Knight said. “At this time, detectives are trying to locate witnesses…”
Commenters on Facebook said the pepper-spray blew toward the stopped pickup and hit a pregnant passenger and a little girl. The little girl reportedly required hospitalization, according to commenters, but that claim has not yet been confirmed.
“This is a video EVERYONE NEEDS TO WATCH!” Stone said. “Law enforcement is here to protect and serve, not intentionally try to harm others… THIS WAS BEYOND DANGEROUS.”
Update: Fort Worth police say they have now removed Figueroa from patrol duty and will continue their ongoing investigation.
Botella, the woman who was driving the red pickup truck, said her passengers were filming the bikers with their cellphones when she was pulled over. She recalled that Figueroa deployed the pepper-spray before he approached her vehicle.
“I thought it was sand up off the bikes that was making everyone choke and stuff,” Botella said. “But it ended up being the mace.”
Botello said that Figueroa then opened her passenger door and began confiscating cellphones as evidence of the motorcyclists’ reckless driving.
The woman was ticketed for driving without a license in the incident but asserted that that the only real danger that day came from the actions of Figueroa and not the bikers.
Originally published at Police State Daily.