A Texas Police Department is investigating one of their officers, who is accused of tazing a 76-year-old man over an expired inspection sticker (that wasn’t actually illegal at all), and they’re inviting feedback from the public. On the department’s Facebook page, they’ve posted an invitation to share thoughts, vent, and express opinions about the matter.
On Friday, Pete Vasquez, 76, was returning to his job at a car dealership, where he does mechanical work on used cars. According to the Victoria Advocate, Officer Nathaniel Robinson pulled him over and asked about the expired inspection sticker. Vasquez attempted to point out the dealer tags, since a car with dealer tags doesn’t have to have an up-to-date inspection.
Officer Robinson grabbed Vasquez by the arm and attempted to handcuff him. Vasquez pulled away. The officer pushed him down on the hood of the police cruiser, and Vasquez fell to the ground. Other officers present say that Robinson then began tazing the 76-year-old man, using the device on him twice.
Robinson has not been put on leave, but on administrative duty, while the department investigates.
This comes at a time when police violence is a subject of many large public protests, and people have a lot to say about these incidents. In many cases, the public feels that police would like nothing more than for them to stay out of it and not express any opinions. In this, however, the Victoria Police have been very proactive: on their Facebook page, they’ve created a space for a public forum on the incident.
A controversial incident involving a Victoria Police officer is dominating headlines today. A number of citizens have posted comments related to this incident on our timeline under unrelated posts.
As the articles read, this incident is being actively investigated. We place incredible value in public trust and have worked diligently to build that trust. In the interest of transparency, and knowing that many of you are looking for an outlet to express your feelings on the matter, we are creating this post to allow your comments to be heard. All we ask is that your comments stay within our established posting policy, which can be found on the “MORE” tab at the top of the page.
The public is, indeed, responding, much as it has in other recent cases (Michael Brown, Eric Garner): some defending the actions of the officer, and others decrying them, saying that tazing a 76-year-old man is deplorable and inexcusable.
The department has offered no further comment after the initial post, simply leaving the public to discuss, debate, and express as needed. They are investigating the case, though, and more information is expected when that investigation is complete. In the meantime, if you have thoughts to share on an officer tazing a 76-year-old man over a minor traffic infraction of which he wasn’t even guilty, the Victoria Police welcome your comments.
Images are from dashcam video at Victoria Advocate.