Authorities are speeding up their investigation of a state trooper who zapped a motorist with a Taser now that video of the traffic stop has been posted on YouTube, the Utah Highway Patrol said Wednesday.
The video, taken from Trooper John Gardner’s patrol car, shows him drawing his Taser after Jared Massey refused to sign a speeding ticket Sept. 14 and walked away from the officer on U.S. 40 in eastern Utah.
A surprised Massey asks, “What the heck is wrong with you?”
Gardner fires, and Massey shrieks and falls.
“Face down! Face down! Put your hands behind your back!” Gardner orders.
A woman screaming hysterically emerges from the passenger side of the sport-utility vehicle Massey was driving, and the trooper tells her to get back inside “or you’re going to jail, too.”
Massey could not be reached for comment Wednesday. There was no phone listed for him in the Vernal area, where authorities said he is from. The highway patrol declined to make Gardner available for comment.
“I can’t speculate on what was happening in the trooper’s mind,” said Trooper Cameron Roden, a patrol spokesman. “We have an internal investigation going on. ... With it coming out on YouTube, we have expedited the investigation.”
Cop: Lots of feedback over video
The 10-minute video landed on YouTube after it was released to Massey under a public records request.
“We definitely have received a lot of feedback on it, calls and e-mail,” Roden said.
Signing a speeding ticket is not an admission of guilt, Roden said. He described it as a promise that a motorist “will take care of the citation.”
Under patrol policy, troopers can use a Taser if someone is a threat to themselves or others and other means of control are unreasonable, Roden said. Massey has filed a complaint, Roden said. He didn’t know the status of the speeding ticket.