WARNING – DISTRESSING VIDEO BELOW
The below incident happened in 2015, but with the current trial of Derek Chauvin going on, along with all the other abuses against Black people by police officers, I felt it should be shown.
Officer Resigns After Excessive Force Incident
(VA) – On May 4, 2015, police officers with the Fredericksburg Police Department responded to a call for a hit and run. They found 34-year old David Washington facing the wrong way on the road. Two police officers confronted Mr. Washington, ordering him out of the car. Mr. Washington had suffered a stroke and was unable to comply with their demands. Then Officer Shaun Jergens arrived. He quickly moved into position to deploy his taser and shot Mr. Washington. Officer Jergens then moves to the vehicle and sprays Mr. Washington in the face, for an extended period of time, with his OC spray. Mr. Washington was pulled out of his vehicle and placed on the ground, but none of the officers bothered to put the vehicle in park. It rolled forward, rolling over Mr. Washington’s foot.
According to the CDC signs and symptoms of a stroke are:
Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech.
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination.
Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
It doesn’t seem that officers made any effort to discover what was happening with Mr. Washington though it seems likely that he was at least suffering from confusion. It also appears that officers realized something was wrong once they got him on the ground. Officer Jergens tells Mr. Washington, “Do you understand why you had to get sprayed? You weren’t listening to us.” He then goes on to say it’s all over and that medical help will clean his eyes (from the OC spray) once they get there. During this time, Mr. Washington is unable to sit up on his own and has to lean against the officers for support.
Charges Filed Against David Washington
Even though Mr. Washington was admitted into the hospital indicating he was suffering from a medical emergency, he was still charged with Reckless Driving, Driving with a Suspended License, and Hit and Run. Officials could have easily found out what the medical emergency was and realized that the stroke could have accounted for everything that happened and was not something he could control or predict.
Excessive Force and Police Misconduct Lawsuit Filed
Mr. Washington filed a lawsuit against the Fredericksburg Police Department for excessive force and police misconduct. In 2017, he accepted a confidential settlement.
Officer Shaun Jergens continues to claim “he did nothing wrong.” Jergens did resign from the Fredericksburg Police Department, likely because his captain agreed that it was excessive use of force and Jergens would be facing a termination. I’m sure no one will be surprised to know that Jergens just moved on to another law enforcement agency. He now works with the Spotsylvania County sheriff’s Office. Mr. Washington suffered permanent issues due to the delay in medical attention.