A Texas officer with a can of pepper spray made himself a potentially dangerous road hazard when he decided he would let a cloud of that pepper spray go into on-coming traffic on a highway. The traffic the officer was specifically aiming at was a group of motorcycle riders with nothing between them and the open air to ward off that pepper spray.
The officer had pulled over a red pickup truck, which was traveling with the group of cyclists. As he got out of his car, he had a can of pepper spray ready to go and he pointed it at the on-coming cyclists and sprayed. It wasn’t as if he was trying to pull them over, he really had no reason for doing this.
MSN News reports on March 15 that the officer, W. Figueroa, who had been with the Fort Worth Police Department since 2009, was placed on administrative duties Monday afternoon. Figueroa pulled the pickup truck over because it was allegedly blocking highway traffic as it periodically pulled over to take pictures of the bikers doing reckless stunts on their bikes. It is what he did next with the pepper spray that put all the drivers on the highway at risk.
When the woman driving the pickup truck, who is seen in the video above, asked the cop why he was spraying the bikers, he said because he didn’t want the bikers to get too close to his cruiser. As seen in the video, the bikers stayed in their lines along with the other on-coming traffic. The witness said the pepper spray drifted into the pickup truck causing discomfort to the folks inside and the one man sitting in the bed of the truck.
While the cop was spraying the pepper spray, the witnesses riding in the pickup truck were videotaping him with their cell phones. The woman driving the pickup said the cop grabbed the cell phone away from the passenger in the truck, calling the images “evidence.” He demanded the driver’s cell phone, but she refused to give it to him.
News Max reports that Figueroa allegedly sprayed those bikers as they passed his parked vehicle on U.S. Highway 287 northbound. The driver of the pickup Brittany Botella, who is six months pregnant, was cited for driving without a license. Markus Hernandez, who was in the bed of the pickup truck was hospitalized and given breathing treatments after being exposed to what was believed to be pepper spray.
According to the video above, the bikers were doing stunts with their bikes on the highway and police had gotten a few calls from passing motorists about this dangerous behavior. It is not understood why the cop didn’t just pull the bikers over instead of putting them in danger by spraying them as they traveled down the Interstate at highway speeds.
It was when the video of the cop spraying the bikers showed up online that an uproar started. The Dallas police also go wind of the video. Chase Stone, who is the president of an East Texas motorcycle “team” known as the East Texas Heat, posted the video on his Facebook page, and offered his commentary about what he believed the cop was doing. Stone writes:
“Law enforcement is here to protect and serve, not intentionally try to harm others. THIS WAS BEYOND DANGEROUS.”
Stone also asked others to share the video when he posted it on his Facebook page. Apparently folks obliged because over 1.5 viewers watched the video, which can be seen above. He also said that there were an estimated 200 motorcyclists who had joined in this year for the “Welcome Back Weather” ride, which commemorates the beginning of biking season. The incident is still under investigation and Figueroa remains on administrative leave, removed from any work out in the field.