A white police officer has been charged with assault and battery after using a stun gun on an African American man who did not resist arrest in Fairfax County, Virginia, on Friday, according to the Fairfax County Police Department. Tyler Timberlake was arrested on Saturday and is facing up to three years in prison after being charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault and battery.
Timberlake's arrest comes after prosecutors reviewed bodycam footage of the incident, which shows the officer tasering the victim repeatedly and placing his knees over the man's neck and back without any provocation.
The footage starts off with an officer stepping out of a patrol car and addressing a man, who appears to be disoriented and incoherent, walking in circles on a residential street. The officer then tries to convince the man to get into an ambulance parked nearby.
"I'm here to help you," says the EMT. "Just tell me what you need." The victim says he wants to go to detox before he continues pacing around on the street.
Eventually, Timberlake arrives at the scene in a squad car, gets out and walks toward the victim. He orders the man to get down on the ground and tasers him seconds later.
The victim falls on his back and Timberlake orders him to "roll over" before placing his knee in the man's back and another on his neck as the victim screams for help. Timberlake then hits him on the head with the stun gun and fires another round on the man's neck.
The man begins to struggle with the officers, saying, "No, no." As he struggles the EMTs help the officers hold the man down while police handcuff him. "I can't breathe, I can't breathe," the man says as the officers get off of him and step away. Watch the video below:
'Horrible' Use of Force
In a press conference on Saturday, Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. called the use of force "horrible" and said it violated the department's policies. He added that Timberlake committed "criminal acts" that "violate our oath of office" and "ignore the sanctity of human life."
"The video also erodes the public's trust of police officers, not only in Fairfax County," Roessler said, "but throughout this world. These acts are unacceptable."
Timberlake has been relieved of his law enforcement duties and is under administrative and criminal investigation. The other officers involved have also been on administrative leave pending the investigation, police said.
The incident comes at a time when tensions are high between law enforcement and civilians following the death of George Floyd last month. Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, was killed after white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned him down with his knee over his neck, suffocating him as he cried for help saying, "I can't breathe."
"I can't breathe" and "Black Lives Matter" signs have since swarmed the streets across the country as protesters express their anger over the death of African Americans at the hands of police.