Society

Austin Cop Punches Homeless Man, Lawsuit Follows (Video)

| by Michael Allen

Justin Tyler Scott filed a lawsuit against Sgt. Gregory White Dec. 7 for allegedly using excessive force in an incident that was caught on White's police dash cam video (below) in Austin, Texas, on Feb. 20, 2015.

Scott's lawsuit, which also names the City of Austin, says that White was looking for a suspicious African-American female, but pulled over to confront him, reports KVUE.

In the video, White approaches Scott and asks him if he lives in the area, and wants to see his ID. Scott tells White that he has been living on the streets for a couple of days, and White wants to know if a black girl is with him. White asks again for Scott's ID, and questions him on any prior arrests.

Scott doesn't answer, and White asks him his name. Scott remains silent, and White asks him his name again. As Scott stays silent, White questions him about possessing any weapons and proceeds to grab his arm. White demands that Scott, who has not committed any crimes on the video, drop something and put his hands behind his back.

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Scott asks White why he is grabbing him, and White strikes Scott in the head and takes him down to the ground. White climbs on top of Scott and appears to strike him again. Moments later, the stun gun is heard discharging as Scott yells.

Scott was originally charged for allegedly trying to grab White's stun gun and use it against him, notes KXAN. However, those criminal charges were dismissed.

Scott's lawsuit says that "without provocation" White punched, elbowed, kneed and tased him.

According to the officer, Scott behaved in a suspicious manner, tensed up during questioning, and struggled when White tried to handcuff Scott.

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"It never should have got to this point," Scott Vasquez, Scott's lawyer, told KXAN. "Using that type of excessive force on an individual when it wasn’t necessary."

White said in a court hearing for Scott’s criminal case that Scott tried to use the police stun gun against him, and that the Austin Police Department (ADP) found that White's use of force did not violate the ADP's policy.

Scott's lawsuit says that the stun gun shocked him so close to his heart that he suffered physical and mental injuries, and that he had been wrongfully arrested and jailed (more than 170 days).

White's lawyer did not respond to KXAN with a comment, and the city of Austin said that it had not seen the lawsuit.

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Sources: KVUE, KXANAustin Police Department via YouTube / Photo credit:​ CPOA/Flickr

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