After weeks of fierce debate and protest over alleged police brutality, new footage has emerged of an officer aggressively arresting a 76-year-old over an alleged misdemeanor—and using his Taser twice as the elderly man lay on the ground.
Officer Nathaniel Robinson, 23, has since been suspended, and Victoria Police Chief Jeffrey Craig has apologized for the incident.
Robinson had initially pulled Pete Vasquez over for an expired inspection sticker. Despite Vasquez having license plates from the dealership, exempting him from needing to have the inspection sticker—which he can be seen explaining in the dashcam footage—the incident escalates, and Robinson grapples with Vasquez before forcing him onto the ground.
The two then leave the shot, and Robinson emerges back into frame seconds later holding his Taser. Police have since confirmed that Vasquez was shocked twice while he lay on the ground, Raw Story reports.
Witness Larry Urich subsequently appears on the footage, berating Robinson. What he says isn’t clearly discernible in the video, but he reportedly calls the officer a “goddamned Nazi stormtrooper.”
“What in the hell are you doing? This gentleman is 76 years old,” Urich, who works at the lot, says. “The cop told me to stand back, but I didn’t shut up. I told him he was a goddamned Nazi Stormtrooper.”
Raw Story reports that Robinson, who is currently on administrative leave, could be charged with “aggravated assault, injury to the elderly and official oppression.” Police Chief Craig has said that “public trust is extremely important to us. … Sometimes that means you have to take a real hard look at some of the actions that occur within the department.”
The incident comes as police brutality is at the center of the national spotlight. Since the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by Ferguson, Mo., officer Darren Wilson this summer, there has been an increased focus on perceived unaccountability by law enforcement, which erupted into passionate protests after a St. Louis grand jury decided against indicting Wilson. The death of Eric Garner, who died after being placed in an illegal chokehold by an NYPD officer, sparked further protests across the U.S.