A Fredericksburg police officer has resigned after his superiors determined that he used excessive force during a May 4 arrest in the city.
Shaun Jurgens used his Taser and his pepper spray on a man whom police said had struck one vehicle and knocked down a city road sign while driving at about 5 p.m. that day.
The driver, 34-year-old David Brian Washington of Fredericksburg, was sitting in his Hyundai near the intersection of Cowan Boulevard and Powhatan Street when he was confronted by police, according to a release by police spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe.
Officers ordered Washington out of the vehicle, but he didn’t respond to the commands, Bledsoe said. Jurgens used his Taser on the man while he was still sitting in his vehicle in an effort to gain compliance, she said.
Washington was later taken to Mary Washington Hospital, where it was determined that he had suffered a medical emergency that day, police said. Sources said Washington had a massive stroke and was treated in the intensive care unit.
Jurgens on Thursday disputed allegations of wrongdoing. He said he does not believe he did anything wrong in the incident, which was recording on three separate police body cameras.
“I wish they would show the video,” Jurgens said. “I have nothing to hide.”
Bledsoe said Thursday the department was not releasing the video because it is part of an ongoing investigation. (The video was released Friday by the police department.)
According to police, a 911 call was received May 4 from the driver of a Jeep whose vehicle had just been struck by a silver Hyundai traveling south in the northbound lanes of U.S. 1 near the University of Mary Washington pedestrian bridge.
The Hyundai had previously run into the median on U.S. 1 and knocked down a sign.
The Jeep driver followed the Hyundai, Bledsoe said, as it got back into the southbound lanes at the entrance to Eagle Village and turned right onto Cowan Boulevard. Less than a quarter of a mile later, the Hyundai came to a stop.
The Jeep driver and another witness were still on the scene when officers arrived.
Bledsoe said the first two officers on the scene, Cpl. Matt Deschenes and Sgt. Crystal Hill, held Washington at gunpoint and ordered him out of the car. Washington did not respond.
Jurgens arrived as backup. He said he first drew his service weapon, then holstered it and drew and fired his Taser.
One of the Taser prongs apparently did not make a proper connection and the weapon was ineffective. Jurgens said he then used his pepper spray.
Jurgens and Deschenes then removed the driver from the car and an ambulance was called to treat Washington for the exposure to the spray and to remove the Taser prong still attached to his skin.
Bledsoe said that in accordance with department policy, the officers reported the use of force and the incident — including the videos — was reviewed. It was determined that the use of force used against Washington was “not appropriate,” the police release said, and Jurgens resigned May 14.
“The use of force demonstrated in the incident involving Mr. Washington was not in compliance with department policy or training,” Capt. Rick Pennock said. “We take matters such as these very seriously and require that officers at all times exercise appropriate restraint and good judgment.”
Washington has been charged with two counts of hit and run, reckless driving and driving on a revoked license, third or subsequent offense.
The warrants had not been served as of Thursday. Officer Scott Worley, who was not at the scene that evening, obtained the charges against Washington.
Hospital officials said Washington was not on MWH’s patient roster Thursday.
Bledsoe said the investigation is continuing.
Below is video of the incident from the body cameras of three police officers. The videos were released by the Fredericksburg Police Department. Beware the video contains some explicit language.