No Way This Can Happen
In a shocking episode on Sunday, one of our police officers decided to spray a group of passing motorcyclists with pepper spray.
The incident started when Officer W. Figueroa pulled over a pickup truck and cited the driver for having no driver’s license and cited passengers for standing in the truck’s bed.
During the traffic stop, the East Texas Heat motorcycle group rode by. The 200 cyclists were celebrating the biking season in a club-organized “Welcome Back Weather” ride.
What the officer did next is outrageous. Figueroa pointed a canister of pepper spray at the riders and pulled the nozzle. One rider describes a white or yellow cloud that floated into the caravan of motorcyclists.
Fortunately, the riders had their face masks pulled over their eyes and noses or they might have experienced temporary blindness, coughing and shortness of breath typically caused by pepper spray. At least some of the riders would likely have wrecked as a result.
Caught on Camera
The incident was caught on a GoPro video shot by one of the riders. It turns out that the pickup truck was a safety vehicle that had accompanied the riders to deal with emergencies.
Predictably, the video has gone viral. The tape also drew the attention of the Fort Worth police agency, which suspended Figueroa on Monday while investigating the incident.
The Fort Worth police department claims that several callers reported the motorcyclists for driving recklessly, including racing, weaving between lanes and blocking traffic. The callers also accused the occupants of the pickup truck of standing in the bed to take pictures of the event.
If the riders were acting recklessly, the appropriate response would have been to call in backups to make traffic stops.
Motorcyclists are already at higher risk of injuries. Purposely endangering them is hard to believe, especially from our law enforcement.