A police officer from Victoria, Texas, was fired after dashcam video caught the officer tasing a 76-year-old man during a traffic stop. However, the police officer says he plans to appeal his firing, as his lawyer says there was “nothing unreasonable” about using a stun gun in this situation.
According to ABC News, the former Victoria police officer, Nathanial Robinson, was terminated last week. The termination comes less than a month after the dashcam video was taken on December 11. Once the footage was released to the public, it immediately went viral with many petitioning the city to terminate the officer for excessive use of force.
To make matters worse for the officer, the incident took place over an expired inspection sticker on 76-year-old Pete Vasquez’s vehicle. The video showed former officer Robinson grabbing Vasquez by the arm and violently pushing him onto his police car. The two then fell to the ground where video footage could not capture what transpired. According to Robinson, Vazquez kicked him which prompted him to use the stun gun on the man.
Following the incident, the Texas Rangers completed an investigation on the incident and turned it over to the police department. Following the Texas Ranger’s findings, the police department says Robinson violated department policies which includes details on use of force. Following the incident, Robinson also personally apologized to Vasquez over the incident.
However, Robinson’s lawyer, Greg Cagle, says that the police department had no grounds to terminate the officer over the incident stating that he did “nothing unreasonable” given the situation.
“There’s nothing unreasonable at all about that level of force. [Vasquez] wasn’t injured. He scratched his elbow and hurt his feelings, but those aren’t injuries in the constitutional sense.”
Cagle says he plans to appeal the firing of former-officer Robinson, and thinks administrators and politicians should give officers “more benefit of doubt.” He goes on to blame the incident on poor training by the department itself.
“Why we’re not giving them more benefit of the doubt today, I don’t know,” Lawrence said.
“I think it’s a very dangerous path we’re on. If you think he could have done it different or better, then that’s a training issue,” Cagle said. “I think he deserves his job back, and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
What do you think? Does former-officer Robinson deserve a second chance? Was the incident a reflection of poor training, or was the use of a stun gun on the 76-year-old man, without a doubt, excessive force?