No jail time for former Glendale officer who repeatedly used stun gun on handcuffed man

Side view of a Glendale police vehicle.
Side view of a Glendale police vehicle.

A former Glendale police officer who was charged with three counts of aggravated assault after repeatedly using a stun gun on a handcuffed man in 2017 was fined $100 on Friday afternoon after pleading guilty to one count of disorderly conduct — a Class 1 misdemeanor. He will serve no jail time or probation.

The former officer, Matt Schneider, garnered widespread media attention in 2019 after bodycam footage showed Schneider using a stun gun on then 39-year-old Johnny Wheatcroft 11 times during a traffic stop on July 26, 2017, including after Wheatcroft was on the ground and handcuffed .

In 2018, Wheatcroft sued the city, Schneider and other officers involved in U.S. District Court alleging excessive force, a violation of his civil rights, trauma and emotional harm. Records show the parties reached a settlement in late September 2022, though the amount remains unclear.

Police said officers stopped Wheatcroft, who was traveling in a car with his wife and two children, over a turn signal violation. Police documents claim Wheatcroft initially refused to show identification to the officers and asked why he needed to before reaching into a backpack under his seat.

The lawsuit alleges Schneider then attempted to pull Wheatcroft, who still had his seatbelt on, out of the vehicle while using a stun gun on him multiple times in the back.

More on the story:Arizona attorney general charges former Glendale officer who used stun gun on handcuffed man

It then claims the officer continued to use the stun gun on Wheatcroft even after he was handcuffed on the ground, kicked him in the groin and that Schneider "pulled down Plaintiff’s shorts and Tased his testicles and perineum."

Wheatcroft can be heard in bodycam video repeatedly saying, "I'm not doing nothing." His children are heard screaming in the background.

Jose Santiago, a spokesperson for Glendale, said in 2021 that the police department investigated the incident and submitted a report to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office that included possible charges against Schneider.

Santiago said a separate internal investigation found Schneider violated the city's policies and procedures and he was suspended. Schneider ultimately surrendered his peace officer certification following the incident, barring him from being a police officer in Arizona unless he gets recertified.

Bill Montgomery, who was the Maricopa County attorney at the time, initially refused to file criminal charges against any of the officers involved but later referred the case to the FBI after Gov. Doug Ducey urged him to revisit the case, calling the investigation "whitewashed."

The FBI also launched a criminal investigation into the matter. The County Attorney's office reopened the case in 2020 but Jennifer Liewer, a spokesperson for the agency, said then-County Attorney Allister Adel referred the case to the Arizona Attorney General's Office due to a conflict of interest as Schneider coached Adel's son in Little League.

The Attorney General's Office eventually filed three counts of aggravated assault — all Class 6 felonies — in September 2021.

Reach the reporter Perry Vandell at 602-444-2474 or Follow him on Twitter @PerryVandell.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: No jail time for Glendale officer who used stun gun on handcuffed man