Perhaps it's not the greatest idea to use a taser on an elderly person during a traffic stop. That's what a rookie cop in Victoria is finding out, anyway.
Victoria police officer Nathanial Robinson has been placed on administrative duty for accusations of excessive force stemming from a traffic stop where he tased a 76-year-old man twice as he lay on the ground.
The 23-year old officer tased elderly Victoria resident Pete Vasquez during a routine traffic stop last week, and the entire incident -- minus the tasing part, which happens just out of sight of the camera -- was caught on dash-cam video.
On the video, Vasquez is seen driving a grey car with paper tags owned by Adam's Auto Mart, where he helps out as a mechanic. Vasquez pulls into the car lot and exits the vehicle to talk to the officer, making obvious motion to the dealer tags on the back.
The entire exchange should have probably ended at this point, since according to Texas law, an inspection sticker isn't needed on a car with dealer tags, which is exactly what Vasquez was driving. But Robinson attempts to detain Vasquez anyway, grabbing his arm and twisting it behind the man's back.
When the older man attempts to pull his arm away from the officer, Robinson pushes Vasquez down onto the hood of the police cruiser to arrest him. The two then struggle off camera, during which time the elderly man was tased by the officer -- not once, but twice -- while he was on the ground, according to police.
Once Vasquez was sufficiently incapacitated, the officer then handcuffed and arrested the elderly man, who was kept in police custody for the next couple of hours. All of this happened over an expired inspection sticker, may we remind you.
"He just acted like a pit bull, and that was it," Vasquez told the Victoria Advocate. "For a while, I thought he was going to pull his gun and shoot me."
Victoria police chief J.J. Craig told the paper that the footage "raises some concerns," and that he has personally apologized to the 76-year-old man for the incident. Craig also confirmed that the car was exempt from certain requirements -- including an updated inspection sticker -- since it had dealer tags at the time of the stop.
The manager of the lot, Larry Urich, told the Advocate he wanted the officer fired and prosecuted for treatment of Vasquez.
"I told the officer, 'What in the hell are you doing?' This gentleman is 76 years old," Urich said. "The cop told me to stand back, but I didn't shut up. I told him he was a g-------- Nazi Stormtrooper."
Robinson is now on administrative duty -- presumably sans Taser -- while an internal investigation of the incident is completed.
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