The Fort Worth Police Department in Texas is currently investigating one of its own officers for using extreme measures on unsuspecting citizens.
Authorities on Monday reportedly pulled off W. Figueroa from his duties and placed him on administrative leave after a video surfaced of him shooting a stream of pepper spray at a group of motorcyclists as they passed him on the highway.
The footage, posted on YouTube and Facebook by Chase Stone, clearly shows an on-duty cop standing next to a red pickup truck and spraying what appears to be yellow mist towards the bikers. Although the bikers are wearing helmets, the pepper spray still could have done some damage, leading to an accident.
The police claim the pickup was pulled over for blocking traffic to record the motorcycles when the incident occurred. However, truck’s driver Brittany Botella claims she was cited only for driving without a license. Moreover, one of her passengers, Markus Hernandez, suffers from asthma and had to be hospitalized after being exposed to the pepper spray.
“I looked out my mirror and I seen [sic] all the Mace going towards all the bikes,” said Botella. “And then it hit us. And then I started choking and that's exactly what happened.”
Meanwhile, Hernandez told local news he and another passenger were each ticketed for standing in the back of a moving vehicle.
"I think it's not right. I don't think officers should be able to do that just because they've got a badge,” he said. “We weren't showing no force of hurting him, none of that. He just jumped out with brute of force and sprayed everybody. If he would have gotten one of those bikers there would have been a lot of deaths. It wouldn't just be hurt. People would be dead."
Fortunately, the baffling scene was also recorded on both the officer’s body cam and his patrol car’s dash cam. The department’s internal affairs division has not released Figueroa’s first name.
Watch the complete footage of the incident above.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters/Tim Sharp