FORT WORTH — A Facebook video apparently depicting a Fort Worth officer spraying pepper spray into a group of oncoming motorcyclists has received more than 200,000 views in 15 hours.
Fort Worth police confirmed Monday morning they started investigating the video as soon as they received it. FWPD Corporal Tracey Knight says pepper-spraying drivers is not a department-endorsed tactic.
News 8 spoke Monday to Jack Kinney, the man who recorded the video with his helmet camera, and Chase Stone, who edited the video and posted it to Facebook.
They say a group of about 200 motorcyclists were traveling up northbound U.S. 287 in Fort Worth Sunday afternoon when a Fort Worth police officer pulled over one of the motorcycle group’s “safety vehicles,” which is a vehicle that follows behind bikers in case of an incident.
In the edited video, which slows down and zooms in at one point, so viewers can see more clearly, the officer appears to spray something directly into oncoming traffic as he exits his vehicle. The bikers say it was pepper spray.
“It’s the last thing I would expect to see,” Kinney said.
“His intent was to hit the bikers for sure, there’s no doubt about it,” Stone says.
The men spoke to News 8 via Skype from Longview, Texas, where they live.
“His intent was to send somebody down, if not to cause a major accident with that spray,” Stone said.
As the story spread online Monday, viewers shared pictures and videos with us. Two videos show bikers driving “foolishly,” the viewer said, on another area highway, poping wheelies and weaving in and out of traffic. Fort Worth police say they had multiple calls about reckless motorcycle drivers on area highways, including 287.
We asked Stone and Kinney if it was possible the officer felt threatened.
“If you’re worried about safety, why would you pepper spray a large group of bikers like that?” Kinney said.
They say nothing justifies spraying blinding material into traffic. They say people could’ve died.
“When you put other people’s life in danger, it’s just uncalled for,” Stone said.
Late Monday afternoon, Fort Worth police announced the officer in the video has been taken off patrol and put on administrative duties until the culmination of the investigation. The officer is a six-year veteran with the force.
Police also say three of the people in the truck the officer pulled over were cited; the driver, for not having a license, and two others, for riding in the bed of a pickup truck.
The video can be seen here: