A Fort Worth police officer says he fired pepper spray at passing motorcyclists, which was captured in a video posted to YouTube, because he had just pulled over a pickup truck and could not safely approach the truck.
Five people were treated at the scene for exposure to the spray and one man was taken to the hospital with minor injuries following the incident March 13.
"Multiple motorcycles would not vacate the lane closest to my marked patrol car," wrote Officer W. Figueroa, in his official report. "I deployed my pepper spray into the lane closest to me, at which point approaching motorcycles began to vacate the lane, allowing me to conduct a traffic stop."
The pepper spray incident happened along northbound Highway 287 near East Rosedale Street.
Dispatchers had gotten several reports of motorcycles driving recklessly, weaving in and out of traffic or driving too slowly and blocking lanes of traffic.
In a message to other officers nearby, Figueroa wrote: "287 nb is shut down by a bunch of delinquents."
"The motorcycles were driving on 1 wheel and weaving in and out of traffic not allowing motorists to pass," the officer wrote in his report.
The officer had just pulled over a truck carrying six people – friends of some of the bikers.
According to Figueroa, the truck was driving slowly on the center lane of the highway, with two men standing in the back recording the bikes.
Brittany Botella was the driver.
"I looked out my mirror and I seen, like, all the mace going towards the bikes, and then it hit us and then I started choking," Botella said in an interview with NBC 5.
The department said Figueroa would be reassigned to an administrative job while an internal investigation takes place.