Fairfax Co. officer faces assault, battery charges for tasing man

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A Fairfax County, Virginia, police officer is facing three different charges of assault and battery for using a Taser during a call Friday, the county attorney said.

Officer Tyler Timberlake, who is white and has been with the department for eight years, faces up to three years in prison, said Steve Descano, the Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney.

“I can assure you that I am personally following this case closely to ensure a thorough prosecution and outcome, especially during these trying times,” Descano said in a statement Saturday.

Body camera footage, which the department released Saturday, appears to reveal Timberlake tasing a black man while responding to a call.

The officers were responding after someone called police about a man walking around Mt. Vernon, Virginia, saying he needed oxygen, Roessler Jr. said.

The body camera footage is from the perspective of an assisting officer who, along with EMT responders, is trying to corral the man into an ambulance.

In the video, the assisting officer reported over his radio that the man is walking around in the middle of the street and was audibly rambling.

The man appeared to tell an EMT responder he wanted to detox before returning to pace around in the middle of the street again.

Timberlake seemed to come from behind the ambulance and then tased the man soon after coming into the body cam’s frame.

He ordered the man to roll over while he put his knee on his back and tased the man in his neck while he was on the ground.

EMTs and the assisting officer then came in to help restrain the man.

During a news conference, Col. Edwin C. Roessler Jr. said the officer’s actions violate the department’s use-of-force policies.

The victim seen in the video was transported to a local hospital after the incident and was released, Roessler Jr. said.

While Roessler Jr. said the first officer who responded sought to assist the man, Timberlake appears to tase the man several times, body camera footage appears to show.

Separate from the criminal investigation, the department has also launched an administrative investigation, he said.

All of the officers on the scene have been relieved of duty pending the outcomes of criminal and administrative investigations, Roessler Jr. said.

The actions in the video “ignore the sanctity of human life,” Roessler Jr. said. “The video also erodes the public’s trust not only in Fairfax County but throughout this world.”

Fairfax County Chairman Jeff McKay said, “I am angry. I know our community is angry.”

“Our nation is righteously angry at the law enforcement profession, as am I,” Roessler said, as the incident came on the ninth night of protests continued in D.C. —  the largest day of demonstrations since the May 25 killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.

WTOP’s Matthew Delaney and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

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