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Arizona officer in stun gun video has disciplinary history

February 19, 2019

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — One of the suburban Phoenix police officers seen on video repeatedly using a stun gun on a handcuffed man has a history of suspensions and reprimands, according to disciplinary records.

Glendale police Officer Matt Schneider has been disciplined for several issues, including insubordination and workplace harassment, according to documents obtained by Phoenix news station KNXV-TV on Monday . He was suspended or reprimanded for several incidents dating to 2005.

In the stun gun incident during a 2017 traffic stop, Schneider was suspended for three days last September.

Glendale police did not immediately return a message seeking comment Tuesday.

The man shot by the stun gun is suing Schneider, two other officers and the city. An attorney for Johnny Wheatcroft alleges officers used a stun gun on his handcuffed client nearly a dozen times. One time included pulling down Wheatcroft’s shorts and using the stun gun on his testicles, said Wheatcroft’s attorney, Marc Victor.

The Glendale Police Department has acknowledged its officers used stun guns on Wheatcroft and that an officer kicked him during a struggle. But the agency denied the allegation that Schneider used the stun gun on Wheatcroft’s testicles, saying the officer zapped Wheatcroft in the thigh.

Body camera video of the encounter surfaced earlier this month.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, who initially declined to charge the officers, has since turned the case over to the FBI. His decision came after Gov. Doug Ducey weighed in last week, saying the original investigation had been “whitewashed.”

Ducey’s comments were a rare rebuke of police and prosecutors. He is a Republican, like Montgomery, and they are strong allies.

Files obtained by the TV station say Schneider was suspended for a day for insubordination in May 2008. He did not follow a sergeant’s order to put away a pocket knife. A colleague was later severely cut by it.

A month later, Schneider served a one-day suspension for ordering the destruction of a resident’s personal property that was being held in evidence. The order came after prosecutors dropped the case against the person. The documents mention a previous review of conduct in a 2005 incident but give no details.

More recently, Schneider received a formal reprimand last June for creating a hostile work environment. Employees accused him of bullying, inappropriate physical contact and making inappropriate comments. He also refused to ride with specific members of a squad, the documents said.

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Information from: KNXV-TV, http://www.abc15.com

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