UNREASONABLE FORCE AND BLACK MOTORIST

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Fredericksburg Police Department Officer Shaun Jergens resigned last week.

Shaun Jergens, Frederickson Police Officer, resigns.

A white Frederickson, VA police officer resigned over his actions pertaining to the arrest, and use of unreasonable force, including the attempted use of his Taser, and using pepper spray on a black motorist. An investigation revealed that David Washington (34) had been suffering from a medical emergency at the time of the arrest. Officer Shaun Jergens, used his Taser on Washington when he did not immediately comply with his orders to show his hands, although he was not resisting arrest, nor was there any indication that he was brandishing a weapon. A video depicts Jergens, and another female officer, loudly screaming and swearing at Washington during the ordeal. Once on the ground, Washington can be heard exclaiming that he can’t breathe. Medical personnel arrived to administer assistance for the pepper spray, and Washington was taken to the hospital where he received further treatment, and his medical ailment was diagnosed. Frederick Police Capt., Rick Pennock, said Jergens’ actions were not in compliance with the department’s rules and regulations. Washington had been involved in a hit-and-run incident before the incident, and is still facing charges for this, and related offenses.

COMMENT:

This is another example where police officers have been caught on tape abusing the civil liberties of someone. The man was possibly involved in some traffic incidents and was rightfully stopped by the police. But as the video shows, the officers overreacted almost immediately when they started screaming and swearing at the man (Put your fucking hands up- the female officer screams) at a time when he is not offering any resistance. There must be a class in police training school where cadets are told to scream as loud as they can when barking out orders and making arrests. As a matter of common sense, as applied to everyday life, we know that out-of-control screaming, never works in any aspect of life. Although this case is distinct in the sense that a medical condition is present, it is noteworthy to remember the importance of cultural/race sensitivity training. People from different cultures and races can tend to act differently under stressful situations. This is also apparent in regional differences. Many people may react differently to people who are displaying their power based upon encounters they, or family members or friends, have experienced in the past- police should be trained to recognize these differences and respond accordingly. Seldom is screaming and making loud commands the answer. We cannot over-train on these issues. Again, this case points out the value of recording police/civilian encounters- they capture the truth. Memorialized depictions protect everyone.

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