A woman’s eyesight has been destroyed after a police officer allegedly fired his gunpowder-propelled pepper spray weapon into her face from less than a foot away.
Beaumont, Calif. police officer Enoch Clark pulled Monique Hernandez over in February of 2012 for a DUI.
Clark stated that when he tried to subdue Hernandez, she “resisted.” In order to handcuff Hernandez, Clark reportedly sprayed his department-issued JPX gunpowder-propelled pepper spray weapon directly into her face.
The pepper gun launches pepper spray at 405mph; fired at such a close distance to Hernandez’s face, the damages inflicted were catastrophic.
The force of the pepper spray sliced her right eye in half and fractured her right orbital bone.
It also severed the optic nerve in her left eye.
What is more, not only has Clark caused great bodily harm to a citizen, but the story he told of the moments leading up to pepper-spraying Hernandez reportedly hasn’t been supported by the video evidence captured on the cruiser’s dashcam.
Deputy District Attorney Michael Carney showed the dashcam video to the jury on Tuesday. In the video, Hernandez can apparently be seen standing with her hands behind her back as Clark questions her about her blood alcohol concentration.
When Clark tells Hernandez that he’ll have to “JPX” her if she doesn’t stop resisting, she tells him she isn’t resisting.
As the officer attempts to handcuff Hernandez, he shines a laser toward her face and proceeds to fire a double-barrel charge of pepper spray right into her face.
He fired from about a foot’s distance; the weapon he used was designed to be used from no closer than four feet.
“[Hernandez’s] eyeballs were literally blown into pieces, and the person who did this was a police officer,” Carney told the courtroom.
“She has her hands behind her back. Yes, she’s mouthy and drunk, but there is no way to justify his response,” Carney went on to say.
Clark, 38, no longer works for the city of Beaumont or for the police department.
He has been charged with assault by a police officer causing injury, assault with a less lethal weapon, battery causing serious injury and assault resulting in great bodily injury. If convicted of the disabling assault, he could face more than 20 years in prison.
Hernandez has also filed a lawsuit for damages against Clark and the police department; this trial, which is being heard in Los Angeles, is separate from the criminal trial.