Fairfax County police officer indicted on assault, battery charges

A grand jury indicted a white Fairfax County, Virginia, police officer accused of assaulting a Black man who, police body camera footage showed, was not combative when he was stunned and forcibly arrested.

The grand jury found sufficient evidence to indict officer Tyler Timberlake on three counts of assault and battery, according to court documents obtained by WTOP.

Timberlake was arrested in early June following the incident in the Mount Vernon neighborhood of the county on June 5.

In body-worn camera video previously released by the Fairfax County police, an unnamed officer on the scene is trying to reason with the man, who is not suspected of a crime, but seems disoriented and confused, walking in circles around the street.

As the officer is attempting to learn whether the man needs medical attention, Timberlake walks into the frame, appearing to have just arrived, and deploys his stun gun on the man multiple times. Timberlake is also seen in the footage holding the man down with his knees as he tries to put handcuffs on the man.

The indictment specifies three alleged incidents of assault and battery: the first, when Timberlake used a “Taser device to fire a dart” into the man’s body while he was standing, the jury found; the second, when Timberlake allegedly struck the man’s head with his “fist and/or the butt of a Taser device”; and the third count, Timberlake’s allegedly using a “Taser device to fire a dart” into the man’s body while he was on the ground.

Prosecutors decided last week to drop charges against Timberlake in favor of allowing a grand jury of his peers to decide whether the charges were warranted.

“This means that we can now look ahead to a jury trial that will give our community an opportunity to weigh in on this important case,” said Steve Descano, the commonwealth’s attorney for Fairfax County, in a statement in response to the indictment.

“I believe the community’s involvement in deciding this matter is essential and is why we pursued and obtained today’s grand jury indictments,” Descano said.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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