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Video Captures Police Tasing and Pepper Spraying Suspect

© Fredericksburg Police DepartmentScreenshot from an officer's bodycam shows the stop of David Washington
Screenshot from an officer's bodycam shows the stop of David Washington - Sputnik International
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Recently-released body camera footage shows a Fredericksburg Police officer tasing and pepper spraying a man who claimed to have been suffering medical issues during the altercation.

Officer Shaun Jurgens, who resigned on May 14, says he violated no department policy when he used force against David Washington on May 4.

Jurgens along with Cpl. Matt Deschenes and Sgt. Crystal Hill responded to calls of a hit-and-run, and a driver traveling in the wrong direction on northbound lanes of Jefferson Davis Highway near the University of Mary Washington pedestrian bridge.

Washington, 34, was operating a Hyundai when he hit a Jeep, crossed the median, struck a sign and eventually stopped in between an intersection.

With guns drawn, Hill and Deschenes were the first to approach the stationed Hyundai. They yelled at Washington to put his hands up. Then, Hill tells Deshcenes that he can’t see the driver’s left hand.

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Jurgens later arrives and initially approaches the vehicle with his gun drawn. He then circles behind a police cruiser, produces his taser, and fires.

After the taser appears to not have reached its target, Jurgens pepper sprays Washington’s face. Hill and Deschenes then pull Washington out of the vehicle, force him on the ground, and handcuff him. Washington can be heard saying, “I can’t breathe.”

Washington later tells the officers that he had been sick for days, but did not know what was causing his illness.

Before an ambulance arrives, Jurgens helps Washington sit up and lets the suspect lean against his body.

Washington is facing charges of hit-and-run, reckless driving and driving on a revoked license. However, he has not been arrested on those charges, police say.

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Jurgens maintains he acted in line with policy, but the department disagrees. Jurgens noted that he feared the situation could escalate and pose risk to oncoming motorists as the altercation took place during rush hour. He also indicated there was an elementary school nearby and that he suspected Washington was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In the video, police find beer in the Hyundai’s back seat.

Jurgens also said he could not effectively target his taser because the suspect had been moving and the sunlight made it difficult for him to see the red dots which indicate where the taser’s prongs would hit.

Washington has been released from the hospital and is undergoing recovery, according to police.

The Fredericksburg Police Department is deciding whether Hill and Deschenes will face reprimands due to their handling of the situation.

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