Fairfax Co. officer charged in stun gun assault ‘moving to Minneapolis’ when arrested

A prosecutor told a judge Monday that when Fairfax County, Virginia, police officer Tyler Timberlake was arrested for assault, less than two days after using a stun gun on a man, he “was already in the process of moving to Minneapolis” — the city in which George Floyd, a Black man, died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than 8 minutes.

Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Frank told District Court Judge Susan Stoney that after the June 5 incident, Timberlake “didn’t turn in his body-worn camera at the end of his shift — he went home sick, and didn’t turn it in the next day.”

Timberlake, who is white, used a stun gun on the man, who was disoriented and did not appear combative, in the Mount Vernon section of Fairfax County. In announcing his arrest, police released body-camera video of the incident.

Asked to elaborate on the statements Frank made in court, or provide a more detailed timeline, Antonio Peronace, a spokesman for Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano, declined.

Monday, prosecutors were granted permission to drop three misdemeanor counts of assault and battery against Timberlake, with the intention of seeking a grand jury indictment, so the officer would be tried in circuit court.

“We want to make sure the people of Fairfax County have the opportunity to be heard” as jury members, Frank said.

In district court, the judge hears testimony, sees evidence and issues a verdict.

Frank made his claims about Timberlake’s plans to move to Minneapolis, and not immediately turning in his body-worn camera, in response to statements from defense attorney Edward Nuttall that “high level prosecutors and the police department” went to extraordinary lengths to arrest the officer quickly in the midst of emotional protests surrounding the police-involved deaths of Floyd and other Black Americans.

Nuttall said prosecutors and police had scheduled a news conference before an arrest warrant was issued for Timberlake.

Prosecutors have not said what charges they will seek in an indictment. The Fairfax County grand jury next meets on Monday. Timberlake remains free on his own recognizance.

An attorney for Timberlake didn’t respond to a request for comment about Frank’s statements to the judge.

After Timberlake’s Monday hearing, the local Fraternal Order of Police announced it is calling for the resignation of police Chief Ed Roessler for his comments immediately following the officer’s arrest.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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