Fort Worth Cop Who Pepper Sprayed Motorcyclists Sanctioned But Not Suspended

Officer's use of pepper spray caught in viral YouTube video

A Fort Worth police officer who fired pepper spray at a group of passing motorcycles in March will receive internal sanctions but not be suspended, the department said Friday.

In a widely-seen YouTube video, Officer W. Figueroa was seen aiming the spray at the motorcyclists on Highway 287 near Rosedale Street after he had pulled over several people in a pickup.

Sgt. Marcus Povero, a police spokesman, said on Friday that an internal affairs investigation into the incident is over.

“The case is closed,” he said.

Figueroa will receive “internal sanctions,” Povero said.

Povero said he could not specify exactly what sanctions but added they could include retraining or a commander’s admonishment.

The officer was briefly taken off patrol duties when the investigation started.

Povero said none of the motorcyclists complained to the department.

“Nobody that witnessed or was involved in this situation ever filed a complaint,” Povero said. “This was an internal investigation started by our own internal affairs unit.”

Several people in the pickup were treated by paramedics when the pepper spray blew in their direction.

“The video says it all,” motorcyclist Chase Stone, of Longview, said at the time. “It’s just dangerous, man. It could have caused of accidents and possible death.”

Stone’s friend shot the video, which was later posted to YouTube.

Stone could not be reached Friday for comment.

Several drivers had called 911 to complain about the motorcyclists driving erratically right before the incident.

Figueroa explained his decision to use pepper spray in a police report obtained by NBC DFW.

"Multiple motorcycles would not vacate the lane closest to my marked patrol car," Figueroa said. "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."

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