A Fort Worth Police Department (FWPD) officer, identified only as W. Figueroa, has been moved from patrol to administrative duties after video surfaced of him pepper-spraying passing motorcyclists from the side of a highway.
Figueroa, a six-year veteran on the force, reportedly documented his use of spray in a departmental report this past Sunday afternoon after pulling over a red pickup truck for "blocking traffic to rocord [sic] motorcycles driving recklessly." The 40-second video, uploaded first to Facebook and then Youtube, shows Figueroa emerging from his cruiser holding a small black object in his hand.
During a slow-motion replay edit created by
Chase Stone, the video's uploader and one of the passing bikers, reddish spray can be clearly seen coming out of the object in Figueroa's hand. The FWPD told reporters that they will be reviewing both Figueroa's body cam and dash cam as they conduct an investigation into the incident.
It should be noted that Stone's Youtube account contains video of he and others performing bike stunts on highways and other public roads. NBCDFW.com reported that "several motorists called 911 Sunday afternoon to report motorcyclists blocking traffic, racing and weaving through cars along Highway 287." A number of people have come to Figueroa's defense on social media, pointing out that every state has a "Move Over Law," requiring motorists to move one lane to the left of a police officer engaged in a traffic stop, or at least significantly reduce their speed.
Whatever reason Figueroa had for deploying the noxious gas, discourteous bikers don't deserve a face full of Mace, and spraying a blinding agent into the eyes of people speeding down a crowded highway on two wheels can't be possibly be considered in the interests of public safety.