An officer has been pulled from patrol while police conduct an internal investigation into a video that shows him pepper-spraying passing motorcyclists on a highway.
W. Figueroa, an officer with Fort Worth since 2009, was placed on administrative duties Monday afternoon.
Figueroa had pulled over a red pickup truck Sunday afternoon after it was allegedly blocking traffic and recording “motorcycles driving recklessly.”
As a caravan of motorcyclists began to pass, an officer emerges from the patrol car with what appears to be a canister of pepper spray in his right hand.
A video shot by one of the bikers with his GoPro camera shows the officer spraying at passing motorcyclists.
Chase Stone, president of an East Texas motorcycle “team” known as the East Texas Heat, posted the video on his Facebook page, writing that he believed the officer’s intention was to cause an accident.
“Law enforcement is here to protect and serve, not intentionally try to harm others,” Stone wrote on his Facebook post in asking others to share the video. “THIS WAS BEYOND DANGEROUS.”
Stone said an estimated 200 motorcyclists joined in a “Welcome Back Weather” ride to commemorate the beginning of biking season.
Jack Kinney, another member of the East Texas Heat, shot the video on his GoPro camera and said he had no idea what he had captured until late Sunday night, when he and Stone reviewed the footage.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, film everything. You can delete it later if nothing is on your camera,” Kinney said.
According to Fort Worth police, the department had fielded several calls reporting reckless driving.
One of the callers stated that multiple motorcycles were racing, stopping and weaving through cars on U.S. 287. Another caller told dispatchers that the cyclists were riding slowly and blocking traffic lanes while several people in the bed of a pickup were standing up, taking photos of the group. One vehicle, that caller added, had even turned sideways, blocking a traffic lane, to allow the cyclists to pass.
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SOURCE: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Deanna Boyd