19:18 GMT17 February 2020
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    A Fort Worth police officer who sparked widespread condemnation after pepper-spraying motorcyclists as they passed by on the highway will not be suspended, the department announced on Friday.

    The incident went massively viral after a video was posted to YouTube in March. In the footage, officer W. Figueroa had pulled over a pickup truck acting as a “safety vehicle” for approximately 200 bikers riding in tandem. As the bikers passed the officer standing on the shoulder behind the stopped pickup, he sprayed the orange mist directly onto the riders.

    The department quickly made claims that they had received several complaints about motorcyclists driving recklessly, and weaving in and out of traffic around the time of the incident.

    In the police report, Figueroa wrote that he used a chemical weapon because bikers did not swerve into the next lane over from where he stood.

    "Multiple motorcycles would not vacate the lane closest to my marked patrol car," Figueroa said. "I deployed my pepper spray into the lane closest to me, at which point approaching motorcycles began to vacate the lane, allowing me to conduct a traffic stop."

    At the time, Fort Worth police department corporal Tracey Knight stated that the act of pepper-spraying drivers and riders while they are operating moving vehicles is not a department-endorsed tactic, and Figueroa was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into the highly dangerous move.

    The bikers maintain that there is no justification for spraying a blinding weapon at someone operating a motorcycle, and assert that someone could have easily been killed.

    On Friday, it was announced that the internal affairs investigation was over, and that the case is now closed.

    Sgt. Marcus Povero, a police spokesman, told the local NBC affiliate that the officer will receive “internal sanctions,” but would not elaborate what those sanctions will be. He did however add that they could range from retraining, to a simple admonishment from a commander.

    Povero also added that none of the bikers involved in the incident filed a formal complaint.

    “Nobody that witnessed or was involved in this situation ever filed a complaint,” Povero said. “This was an internal investigation started by our own internal affairs unit.”

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    Tags:
    Police, Pepper Spray, Fort Worth Police, Marcus Povero, W. Figueroa, Texas, Fort Worth
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