FAIRFAX NAACP CALLS FOR MAJOR CHANGES FOLLOWING ASSAULT CHARGE FOR FCPD OFFICER
Police must be held to a higher standard
FAIRFAX, Va. – On Friday, June 5, Fairfax Police responded to a call about a man in distress in the Mount Vernon area of Fairfax County. Body-cam footage and bystander video reviewed by the Fairfax NAACP appears to show a man in distress, however, he does not appear to be a danger to himself or others. FCPD Officer Tyler Timberlake arrived on scene and immediately deployed his taser. The first officer on scene, who spent the first few minutes of the tape trying to calm the man down, is confused and says, “Does he have warrants?” Timberlake than put his knee on the back of this man’s neck, while both cops and at least two EMTs piled on to the man as he cries out:
“Deedee, I can’t breathe.”
Timberlake used his taser on the man at least two more times while he was already facedown on the ground.
The Fairfax County Police and Commonwealth’s Attorney moved swiftly to charge officer Timberlake with assault and battery, announcing the charges at press conference on Saturday night.
Fairfax NAACP President Sean Perryman:
“I commend Chief Roessler and Commonwealth Attorney Descano for moving quickly to charge and arrest the officer that assaulted a man clearly in distress and in need of help. This latest video is a testament that Fairfax County is not immune to police violence. We already know that use of force is disproportionately used against Black members of the community. Although we saw the county move swiftly to arrest this officer, we do not know what the official story would be without body cam and bystander video. Most officers in Fairfax are not equipped with a body camera and the Board of Supervisors has chosen to delay the roll out of body-worn cameras.
The community needs increased accountability and transparency for its officers. And we need to reduce the interaction of Black people with armed officers because we see time and time again that we are viewed as threat. This incident should never have happened.”
The Fairfax NAACP is working with individuals and ally organizations to develop a host of changes to the way policing is conducted in the county. Advocating for how police respond to people in mental health distress is just one such change, and we will be unveiling the full list of our proposals in the coming days.