White cop repeatedly tasers black man and pins him down with knee on his neck

A white Virginia police officer has been charged with assault after bodycam footage showed him repeatedly using a Taser on a black man who screamed ‘I can’t breathe’ during the incident.

Fairfax County Police released the footage, filmed on June 5, showing officer Tyler Timberlake using a stun gun on the disoriented man before pinning him down with a knee on his neck. Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler said Timberlake’s actions ‘ignore the sanctity of human life’ and that the officer faces three charges of assault and battery.

The disturbing footage begins with a police officer speaking at a distance with a man who is pacing a residential street and appears to be in a state of confusion. Officers attempt to persuade the man to get into an ambulance after he says to officers ‘I need your help’ and that he wants to be taken to a hospital to ‘detox’.

The man does not become violent or aggressive while officers continue to try and get him closer to the ambulance. Timberlake is then seen suddenly firing his stun gun at the man who screams in pain and falls to the floor.

Timberlake then gets on top of him and pins him down, while the man shouts for help.

The camera blacks out momentarily and Timberlake presses his stun gun into the man’s neck as he screams ‘no’. Blood is seen dripping from his right arm as he continues to be tasered.

A struggle then ensues as the man tries to get away, while several officers restrain him on the floor and handcuff him.

The man repeatedly says ‘I can’t breathe,’ before the officers disperse and roll him on his side.

He was later treated at a hospital and subsequently released, confirmed Fairfax Police Chief Roessler at a press conference on Saturday night.

The incident unfolded after someone had called police about a man walking down a street shouting that he needed oxygen, explained Mr Roessler.

He said that the officer who responded first had tried to de-escalate the situation, adding that it is unclear why Timberlake then used his stun gun.

Mr Roessler said Timberlake had violated the department’s use-of-force policies and ‘committed criminal acts’ that ‘violate our oath of office’.

All officers at the scene had been ‘relieved of duty’ pending the results of the investigation, according to CNN.

‘Together as a community, through our transparency, we will heal as a community,’ said Mr Roessler. ‘This is behaviour we shall not tolerate.’

‘Our nation is righteously angry at the law enforcement profession, as am I,’ Roessler said in reference to the Black Lives Matter protests taking place across the world following the death of George Floyd.

Footage showed Mr Floyd, a black father-of-two, gasp ‘I can’t breathe’ as white Minnesota police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck until he went unconscious on May 25.

Fairfax County Police said it is carrying out a programme to make sure all their officers wear body-worn cameras to improve transparency and community relations.

Attorney for Fairfax County Commonwealth, Steve Descano, who was elected last year on a criminal justice reform agenda, said: ‘I can assure you that I am personally following this case closely to ensure a thorough prosecution and outcome, especially during these trying times’.

The officer could face up to 36 months in prison if he is convicted, said Mr Descano.

Timberlake’s lawyer told CNN that he had just start looking into the case and would not be commenting at this time.

On Sunday, police in neighbouring Falls Church said they were seeking information about a confrontation between two white officers and a black man who was pepper sprayed.

A video posted on social media shows two officers grabbing the man as he attempts to get in a car.

Officers said they had received calls from two women saying they felt threatened by him.

The confrontation, which did not lead to an arrest, occurred near the site of a Black Lives Matter rally on Sunday afternoon in the city.

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