WASHINGTON - The U.S. Park Police are defending the actions of their officers after two gay men said they were tasered, pepper-sprayed and beaten following a traffic stop in Southeast D.C.
Early Monday morning, a Park Police officer tried to arrest John Davis for driving without a permit and having the wrong tags on his car.
The officers had Davis' boyfriend, Timothy Cox, on the floor inside his sister’s house – bloodied and in handcuffs – after police said he threw two hula hoops and a cooler at them.
In return, Cox said an officer hit him in the head with a metal object.
“He hit me like four or five times until I guess it busted, and then when he saw the blood, I guess that's when he stopped,” said Cox.
The traffic stop occurred outside Cox’s sister’s house on 9th Street and Cox admits throwing the hula hoops and the cooler. But he said he was upset after seeing the police use a Taser on his boyfriend.
"I cooperated fully with what he was trying to ask me to do,” he said. “That's why I don't understand an injustice was done here as far as him tasing me after putting the handcuffs on me. I was very compliant.”
Both men said the officers used anti-gay slurs against them.
"I started yelling, ‘What are you all doing? You don't have to be tasing. You already have him in the handcuffs. Why are you all doing this?’ And he started yelling like racial, gay stuff.”
U.S. Park Police confirm an officer did use a Taser on Davis, but it was before he was in handcuffs – not after.
Sergeant Anna Rose, a Park Police spokesperson, also said an officer only used force against Cox inside the house as he was being assaulted.
"The second officer that had come did pepper-spray that second person, and at that point, that suspect reached out his hand and grabbed that officer’s genitalia and squeezed,” Rose said. “The officer’s only recourse was to punch him in the eye with a closed fist.”
Sgt. Rose defended the actions of the officers, but could not explain why the assault charges against Cox and Davis were dropped by prosecutors within hours of their arrests.
"Anytime there is a use of force involving the Park Police, we do an internal investigation to make sure the use of force was in compliance with our policies and this case is no different,” said Sgt. Rose.
Cox and Davis said they were brutalized by the police and have hired an attorney to represent them.
Rose said it is routine for Park Police officers to be patrolling in that section of Southeast D.C. and added that Cox admitted to smoking PCP, which may have accounted for his aggressive behavior toward the officers.
However, Cox said he has smoked PCP in the past, but was not smoking it that night.
One other note on the dropped charges against the men – the U.S. Attorney’s Office has a policy against commenting on the reasons why a case is not prosecuted in court.