A jury must decide if a now-retired Arizona police officer used excessive force when he shot a man in the testicles with a TASER in 2017, a federal judge ruled in a court order unsealed Wednesday.
Johnny Wheatcroft and his family sued the city of Glendale, then-Officer Matthew Schneider and two other officers in 2018, claiming Schneider repeatedly used a TASER on Wheatcroft after he was handcuffed and detained following a traffic stop, Courthouse News Service reports.
According to Wheatcroft’s lawsuit, Schneider used his TASER on Wheatcroft 11 times. Body camera video shows Wheatcroft lying face down on the pavement with his shorts pulled down while Schneider deploys his TASER in an area that appears to be close to Wheatcroft's genitals.
The Glendale Police Department suspended Schneider for three days following an internal investigation into the incident.
In Wheatcroft’s civil suit against the city, Glendale had argued its officers were entitled to qualified immunity. They asked U.S. District Judge Michael Liburdi to issue summary judgment in their favor.
In a 41-page ruling unsealed on March 9, 2022, Liburdi rejected the city’s motion on claims of excessive force, civil rights violations and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The judge concluded a jury must decide if Wheatcroft was resisting arrest and if Schneider’s use of the TASER was justified.