BALCH SPRINGS, Texas – Two weeks after a now-fired Balch Springs police officer shot and killed a 15-year old boy, the police chief is investigating who leaked video of another incident involving his officers.
The leaked body cam video is from an April 28, 2016 incident that shows a white Balch Springs officer using a taser on a handcuffed black man.
The video was mailed to FOX 4 after the shooting death of Jordan Edwards, which is a separate and unrelated investigation. The original source of the leaked video or where else it’s been distributed is unclear.
Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber says he’s concerned about the timing of the video leak and how it might affect the perception of his officers.
The body cam video starts with an officer responding to a call about a man waving a gun in a neighborhood. As the officer arrives, the video shows the suspect, 39-year-old Marco Stephenson, on his knees with his hands on his head. He appears to be complying with officer’s commands.
As officers approach Stephenson, a gun is kicked away that was later determined to be a BB gun. As officers are removing his backpack, he mentions spitting out a toothpick. The situation then escalates.
“Don’t pull away! You understand? You understand?” a sergeant on the video says as he’s tasing Stephenson. “Don’t pull away! You get it?! You get it?! Because I ain’t playing with you today! Do you understand?!”
“Yes sir,” Stephenson replied.
The sergeant using the taser is a supervisor. Chief Haber says the sergeant’s actions were questioned by his own officers.
“We looked at it. At the end of the day, they did the right thing,” Haber said. “They brought it to our attention.”
The police chief says the video was reviewed by the Texas Rangers, Professional Standards and the Dallas County DA’s Public Integrity Unit.
“We decided together that this was an administrative issue, not a criminal issue,” Haber said.
The chief says the sergeant was reprimanded and put on “no contact with the public” until he completed classes on conflict resolution, anti-bias and how to respond to mental health calls.
As for Stephenson, Haber says he was well known to authorities with arrests for everything from criminal trespass to aggravated assault on a public servant on one of his own officers.
“He’s been handled 37 times through Dallas County — 37 offenses,” the police chief explained. “He’s been arrested or booked into the Dallas County Jail 17 times. He’s been booked in through our facility 19 times and I think 33 separate offenses.”
Reverend Ronald Wright has publically supported the chief since the night Jordan Edwards was shot and killed.
“He was really fortunate that he didn’t get gunned down,” the reverend said.
Wright was also involved in reviewing this case last year at the request of the chief.
“There was some things that were done that could have been kept quiet,” the reverend said. “But there was some officers that set an example of what all police department should do.”
Chief Haber says Stephenson never did file a complaint with the department.
“We just hope people understand and realize that we’re out here doing these things,” he said. “We’re out here actually policing ourselves and making sure we’re doing the right thing.”
While the DPS investigation found no fault with the officer’s actions, it is possible this incident could become part of the broader investigation of Jordan Edwards’ death.
The Justice Department has been asked to look for any possible evidence of civil rights violations involving that case. That typically includes a review of all kinds of police department records, including body cam videos.