Officials of a South Texas police department have fired an officer who used a stun gun on a 76-year-old man during a traffic stop for an expired inspection sticker.
The Associated Press reports the Victoria Police Department said Monday that Nathanial Robinson, 23, was fired after an internal affairs investigation into the Dec. 11 incident found that he had violated department policy.
Police Chief Jeff Craig said Robinson violated policies in the areas of conduct and performance, use of force and arrest without a warrant when he pulled over Pete Vasquez in error for the expired sticker.
The Huffington Post reported after the December incident that dashboard camera footage from Robinson’s cruiser showed Vasquez getting pulled over in front of a Victoria car dealer. Vasquez can be seen in the video getting out of his car and gesturing towards the license plate and the dealer’s office.
He said later that he was trying to explain to the officer that, because the car still had dealer tags, it was exempt from inspection and the need to have a current inspection sticker.
Robinson is then seen trying to grab a piece of paper from Vasquez’s hand but the man pulls the paper back. Robinson then slams the man to the hood of his cruiser and wrestles him to the ground, outside of camera range.
The next time Robinson is seen in the video he is shouting and pointing the stun gun.
The police department later confirmed Robinson used the stun gun twice on Vasquez.
The dealership’s sales manager, Larry Urich, is seen in the video shouting at the officer.
“I told the officer, ‘What in the hell are you doing?’ This gentleman is 76 years old,’” Urich told the Victoria Advocate. “The cop told me to stand back, but I didn't shut up. I told him he was a g****** Nazi stormtrooper.”
Vasquez was taken to a nearby hospital and later released. He was not cited for a violation.
Craig later confirmed that the car was exempt from having a current inspection sticker.
Representatives from the Victoria Police Department said the criminal portion of the investigation into the incident has been completed by the Texas Rangers and sent to the district attorney’s office for review.
District Attorney Stephen Tyler said in December that Robinson could face charges including official oppression, injury to elderly, aggravated assault and assault. It remains unclear if any such charges will be filed.
Photo Credit: Dashboard camera screenshot from the Victoria Advocate