Fairfax Co. police officer found not guilty in 2020 stun gun charges

A jury has found a Fairfax County, Virginia, police officer not guilty on three assault and battery counts over a June 2020 incident in which he used his stun gun while responding to a call in the Mount Vernon area.

Officer Tyler Timberlake was cleared of misdemeanor assault and battery charges Friday pressed by a grand jury for using a stun gun on Lamonta Gladney, a Black man, on June 5, 2020, in the Gum Springs neighborhood.

During the incident, another officer’s body camera showed Timberlake, who is white, using a stun gun on Gladney several times and using his knees to pin Gladney to the ground. Timberlake also punched him in the back of the head as Gladney cried out, The Associated Press reported.

Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano said he was disappointed in the verdict.

“While I am disappointed in the outcome of the trial, I am not surprised,” Descano said in a statement.

“It is notoriously hard to prosecute a case like this, but my standard of prosecuting a case isn’t whether it’s easy or hard. My standard is doing what I think is right to hold people, including law enforcement, accountable for their actions.”

Camera footage released by the Fairfax County Police Department in 2020 showed Timberlake trying to speak with Gladney, who appeared disoriented, about whether he needed an ambulance.

An assisting officer reported over his radio that the man, later identified as Gladney, was walking around in the middle of the street and was audibly rambling. Gladney told a medical technician that he wanted to detox.

News outlets that covered the trial reported that Gladney had PCP in his system, according to drug tests. Brandon Shapiro, Timberlake’s lawyer, said his client had been involved in several arrests for PCP and “recognized it right away,” The Associated Press reported.

Gladney later seemed to come toward Timberlake from behind the ambulance and is seen on video being stunned.

In a news conference following the incident, then-police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. said Timberlake’s actions violated the department’s use-of-force policy. Timberlake, along with the other responding officers, were placed on administrative leave pending court proceedings.

Roessler’s criticism prompted the Fairfax Fraternal Order of Police to call for Roessler’s resignation.

The current Fairfax County police chief, Kevin Davis, said in a written statement to The Associated Press after the verdict that he respects the jury’s decision and the department will now work to conclude its internal investigation.

“True justice goes beyond any one case. True justice will be achieved when my Black and brown neighbors don’t have to fear for their well-being when they leave their homes,” Descano added. “Until that day becomes a reality, the work continues.”

Gladney has filed a civil suit against Timberlake in federal court.

WTOP’s Scott Gelman and Neal Augenstein and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital reporter and editor in June 2018. He is a writer and photojournalist focusing on politics, political activism and national affairs, with recent multimedia contributions to Reuters, MSNBC and PBS.

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