WAXAHACHIE (CBSDFW.COM) – Two Waxahachie police officers are suspended indefinitely after they were filmed using a stun gun on a prisoner handcuffed to a chair.
This occurred July 16, but an internal investigation finished last week, which resulted in the suspensions of officers George Pappas and Lt. Damon James. Waxahachie Police Chief Charles Edge said fellow officers first alerted supervisors to the incident.
“Using their Taser in that instance, I don’t know how their actions could be justified,” Edge said. “The use of the Taser for somebody who’s not resisting, who’s not aggressive, who is not a threat to others under our policy … is not called for.”
The alleged abuse happened in the police book-in area, where Earl Ray Gay was being processed. The first two officers saw a baggie in Gay’s mouth, Edge said.
“A closer look said they felt it was crack cocaine; they could see it,” he said. “Two more officers helped, but still Gay wouldn’t spit it out. When George Pappas and Lt. Damon James arrived, they took more direct action.”
Edge said James used the stun gun on a “dry stun mode” three times. The police chief said Pappas used it once.
“At the end, Mr. Gay did spit out the baggie,” Edge said. “There was nothing left in the baggie, so he already ingested all of it.”
Gay spent nearly an hour in book-in before being taken to the Ellis County Jail, where the nurse ordered him to a hospital. Edge said Gay should have gone immediately “to pump his stomach for medical purposes.”
“But also, you were going to receive the evidence you were trying to get anyway, and they failed to use that option,” Edge said.
Gay, though refusing an interview, said he was fine today. He was released from jail earlier this month and is looking for work.
Neither Pappas nor James were available for interview, but James’ attorney said the officer was involved for less than a minute and couldn’t see that Gay was handcuffed.
James’ attorney acknowledged he used the stun gun, but in a “limited dry-stun” setting. Edge is not sympathetic.
“Mr. Gay was handcuffed and restrained the entire time. He was not resisting arrest, he was not fighting in any way, shape or form,” Edge said.
The officers can appeal their indefinite suspensions, which can take months. James’ attorney said his client plans to appeal.