A police officer in the inaptly named town of Reform, Alabama, has been placed on administrative leave after a viral video showed her tasing a handcuffed and compliant man during a traffic stop. The incident is now also under investigation by the state.
The cell phone video of the December 2 traffic stop starts with the officer ordering the handcuffed man to get off the ground and leading him to the back of her patrol car. The video doesn’t capture what happened before.
The officer puts the man against the trunk of the patrol car, places her taser against his back, and orders him to “stay still.”
“I ain’t doing shit. I got a gun right there,” he says, referring to a gun in his pants. “I’m not doing nothing.”
The officer removes the gun from the man’s pants, then laughs and says, “Oh yeah!”
“What you saying ‘Oh, yeah’ for?” the man asks. “I’m not–”
The officer tases the man in the back until he begins crying and yells at him to “shut the fuck up.”
Local news outlet WVTM of Birmingham identified the man as Micah Washington, 24, of Tuscaloosa:
According to Pickens County Jail records, Washington has been charged with resisting arrest, obstructing governmental operations, possession of marijuana, drug trafficking, and being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm. He was released yesterday on a $505,000 bond.
The Reform police chief and the city have not released more details on the traffic stop, or what happened prior to the beginning of the video. In statements to news media, Reform Police Chief Richard Black only acknowledged that he had seen the video and that all evidence regarding the traffic stop was being sent to the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation for review.
In any case, the video clearly shows that Washington was disarmed, handcuffed, and not resisting when the officer tased him at length—a particularly sadistic example of excessive force that will be hard to justify even with the generous leeway afforded to police by departments and courts.
Reason recently reported on a Wyoming police officer who is being sued for assaulting a disabled eight-year-old boy; a Mississippi county where a gang of sheriff’s deputies proudly called themselves “the goon squad;” and how Maryland cops shot a woman’s dog and then said, “That’s what happens when you don’t answer questions.”