There is a bizarre story out of Fort Worth Texas where a driver videotaped a police officer spraying what appears to be pepper spray at a group of oncoming motorcyclists. The video below is slowed down to show the officer clearly spraying what looks like mace at the group as they drive by.
The group was composed of 200 motorcyclists and were traveling up northbound U.S. 287 in Fort Worth on Sunday afternoon. Before the incident, the police officer pulled over one of the motorcycle group’s “safety vehicles,” which follows behind bikers in case of an incident. Three of the people in the truck were given citations: the driver, for not having a license, and two others, for riding in the bed of a pickup truck.
It is not clear why the officer was spraying the bikers. One possibility is that he did not want bikers to get close to the side where he was dealing with the driver. If so, it is remarkably dumb since bikers would not react to the spray until they were passing. More importantly, if you blind or interfere with the control of the drivers — causing an accident.
Forth Worth police say that they had calls about reckless motorcycle drivers on the highways and videos show bikers doing wheelies and weaving. That hardly justifies random pepper spraying of drivers however.
Yesterday, Fort Worth police announced the officer in the video has been taken off patrol and put on administrative duties. He is a six-year veteran with the force.
Assuming that the officer did pepper spray oncoming bikers, what should the punishment be? This created the chance of a serious accident and, as an unjustified or unprovoked use of force, could be viewed as assault.
What do you think?