On July 26, 2017, the Glendale Police Department was in the area 5900 West Myrtle Avenue conducting intensive patrol due to increased crime reported in the area.
Around 7:30 p.m., Officers Matt Schneider and Mark Lindsey contacted the occupants of a Ford Taurus after Mr. Schneider observed a traffic violation. The contact occurred in a parking lot that was included in a blanket trespass agreement with the city of Glendale and the parking lot owner.
The officers approached the vehicle and found it occupied by three adults and two children. Police learned the driver did not have a driver’s license and began to an observed seat belt violation.
The occupants of the vehicle were identified as driver Shawn Blackburn, 34; front-seat passenger Johnny Wheatcroft, 37; and rear passenger Anya Chapman, 34. Two other back seat passengers were children ages 11 and 6.
The officers noticed Mr. Wheatcroft reaching down below his seat into a backpack. Mr. Wheatcroft also reportedly exhibited verbal non-compliance by refusing to identify himself and failed to obey the officer’s instructions to stop reaching his hands beneath the seat into the backpack and elsewhere in the vehicle.
“For the safety of themselves and those around them, including the minor children, the officers attempted to remove Mr. Wheatcroft from the vehicle so they could maintain a safe eye on him for the duration of the traffic stop as well as conduct a pat down for weapons,” Glendale police stated in a release.
However, Mr. Wheatcroft began to physically resist the officers’ attempts to remove him and continued placing his hands where officers could not see them. The officers displayed their Tasers and warned him of potential use to gain his compliance. However, Mr. Wheatcroft continued to argue, yell and physically resist the officers’ control holds.
Due to the physical resistance from Mr. Wheatcroft, an officer used the Taser in a “drive stun capacity”.
At some point, Ms. Chapman reportedly swung a bag filled with bottled drinks, striking Mr. Lindsey in the head and rendering him unconscious. Mr. Schneider then deployed his Taser, striking Mr. Wheatcroft. He then asked for additional officers to respond.