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Fredericksburg police released three videos Friday of an incident that resulted in the resignation of Officer Shaun Jurgens.
Jurgens used his Taser and his pepper spray May 4 on a man who was sitting behind the wheel of his car and appeared to be ignoring police orders.
David Brian Washington, 34, had attracted police attention initially with erratic driving that included striking one car, running over a sign and driving on the wrong side of U.S. 1, police said.
Following a review of the incident, city police administrators determined that Jurgens used excessive force against Washington, who it turned out was having a stroke. He was treated at Mary Washington Hospital and is recovering in a rehabilitation facility.
Washington was charged with driving on a revoked license, two counts of hit-and-run and reckless driving.
Jurgens resigned, but insisted that he did nothing wrong. In a statement he provided to The Free Lance–Star, Jurgens explained the reasons for his actions and invited the Police Department to release the videos.
The reasons he cited included concern for the safety of his fellow officers and the surrounding public.
Jurgens maintained he acted appropriately, especially considering that the suspect would not show his hands and had already exhibited reckless behavior.
The city’s police use-of-force policy prohibits the use of Tasers or pepper spray on someone behind the wheel of a car. It also prohibits the use of a Taser on suspects who are “passively resisting.”
The released videos came from the body cameras of three officers involved in the apprehension of Washington: Jurgens, Cpl. Matt Deschenes and Sgt. Crystal Hill.
The videos show Deschenes and Hill with their guns drawn as Washington sat in a stopped car at the intersection of Cowan Boulevard and Powhatan Street.
Jurgens showed up a short time later. After repeated warnings for Washington to show his hands and get out of the car, Jurgens fired the Taser.
“Get out of the car or I’m going to [expletive] smoke you,” Jurgens said at one point.
The Taser seemed to have no effect on Washington, and a large amount of pepper sprayed was unleashed into the car.
The officers got Washington out after that and emotions calmed considerably.
The most excitable moment after Washington was in custody was when Hill screamed, “Oh my God. Stop it, stop it” as the car—which apparently was still in gear—backed over Washington’s shoe.
Washington could be heard moaning repeatedly, complaining about his eyes and saying he was feeling sick. He told police he’d been feeling poorly for about a week.
The officers comforted Washington outside the car, telling him that help was on the way and that he would feel better soon.
The May 4 incident began when police got a call about an out-of-control driver who struck another vehicle while driving south in the northbound lanes of U.S. 1 near the University of Mary Washington pedestrian bridge.
The Hyundai Washington was driving had already run into a median and knocked down a sign, police said.
The car had stopped on Cowan Boulevard when police arrived and the events that led to Jurgens’ May 14 resignation unfolded.