A Texas police officer has been taken off patrol after a video of him spraying pepper spray onto a group of oncoming motorcyclists went viral (video below).
The video had been viewed more than 500,000 times in the 24 hours since it was uploaded on March 14. Fort Worth police say they began investigating the video as soon as they received it, WFAA reported.
The video was captured by Jack Kinney, who recorded the clip with his helmet camera. Chase Stone edited the video and posted it on Facebook.
Kinney and Stone say a group of nearly 200 motorcyclists were driving near Fort Worth on March 13 when a police officer pulled one of the group's support trucks over.
In the video, the officer can be seen spraying something directly into oncoming traffic as he steps out of his vehicle. The bikers say it was pepper spray.
"It's the last thing I would expect to see," Kinney told WFAA.
"His intent was to hit the bikers for sure, there’s no doubt about it," Stone added. "His intent was to send somebody down, if not to cause a major accident with that spray."
Forth Worth police say they had received several complaints about reckless motorcycle drivers on area highways. Cpl. Tracey Knight of the Fort Worth police told the news station that pepper-spraying drivers is not a department-endorsed tactic.
Kinney and Stone dispelled any possibilities that the officer felt threatened, noting that it could have killed someone.
"If you're worried about safety, why would you pepper spray a large group of bikers like that?" Kinney said.
"When you put other people’s life in danger, it's just uncalled for," said Stone.
Fort Worth police announced on March 14 that the officer in the video has been taken off patrol and put on administrative duties until the department completes its investigation. The officer has reportedly been with the department for six years.