The Balch Springs, Texas, Police Department is no stranger to misconduct.
On April 29, one of its officers made headlines for shooting unarmed 15-year-old black teen Jordan Edwards.
Now, newly released footage shows another officer using a stun gun on a handcuffed black man who has been identified as 39-year-old Marco Stephenson, Mic reports.
"Don't pull away," the officer is heard shouting at Stephenson as he stuns him repeatedly. "You get it? Do you get it? Are you going to straighten up? Because I ain't playing with you today. Do you understand?"
Although the Taser incident is just coming to light, it occurred on April 28, 2016 — almost one year ago to the day that Edwards was killed.
The body cam footage was mailed anonymously to local Fox affiliate KDFW and the station published the clip on Tuesday.
By the looks of the video, Stephenson appears to have been complying with the officers’ orders as it starts off with him being approached while kneeling on a sidewalk with his hands behind his head and his fingers interlocked.
As one officer begins cuffing Stephenson, his Taser-happy counterpart drew his stun gun and began triggering it against the suspect multiple times.
Police Chief Jonathan Haber told local reporters that the unnamed officer who used the Taser was placed on “no contact with the public” probation while completing classes on conflict resolution and anti-bias training. Haber also noted that the officer’s behavior was reported at the time of the incident by his own colleagues.
"[They] did the right thing," Haber said. "They brought it to our attention."
Although some disciplinary action was taken, investigators — including the Texas Rangers, Professional Standards and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit — determined there was no need for criminal charges to be brought against the officer after reviewing the footage.
The release of this body camera video sheds light on a larger issue within the Balch Springs Police Department that suggests its officers have a brutality problem.
What we know from this disturbing case and the shooting death of Edwards at the hands of Officer Roy Oliver is that at least two Balch Springs cops have greatly abused their power and used excessive force within the last year. Who knows how many other incidents of this nature have gone unnoticed?
The community should demand more transparency and hold the department accountable for being proactive with their training practices instead of reactive.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Wikimedia Commons, Fibonacci Blue