Handcuffed suspect in leaked body cam video breaks his silence
BALCH SPRINGS, Texas - The man seen on a leaked body cam video who was handcuffed while a Balch Springs police officer tased him is now sharing his side of the story.
Marco Stephenson was the suspect that was handcuffed in the video from an incident in April 2016 in Balch Springs. He acknowledged he has a reputation with law enforcement, but said he wanted to tell his story after seeing Tuesday’s FOX 4 News report.
"He totally did me wrong,” he said. “But I'm a Christian, so I'm not revengeful. So I took it and I just kept on going."
The leaked body cam video that was anonymously sent to FOX 4 shows the moment officers responded to a 911 call about a man waving a pistol in a neighborhood. As the officer with the body cam arrived at the scene, the video shows Stephenson is on his knees with his hands on his head and appears to be complying.
The video shows officers approaching Stephenson with guns drawn. One officer kicks a gun away that was later determined to be a BB gun.
"Better watch it, Marco,” an officer can be heard saying.
"I spit a toothpick in the grass,” Stephenson said.
Moments later after Stephenson was handcuffed, police say he spit toward one of the officers and was tased.
“Don't pull away! You understand? You understand?” a sergeant told Stephenson. “Don't pull away! You get it?! You get it?! Because I ain't playing with you today! Do you understand?!"
"I spit a toothpick over his shoulder, He's cocky and arrogant,” Stephenson admitted. “Over his shoulder, yes sir. But it was not on him."
Stephenson said he’s never seen the body cam video and didn’t want to look at it.
"I lived through it myself,” he said. “So I didn't want to look at it because I didn't want to traumatize myself to think about how the injustice of Balch Springs is going. So I told myself not to look at it."
Stephenson is well known to police after being booked into jail 36 times for charges ranging from criminal trespass to drug possession. He even pleaded guilty to aggravated assault of a Balch Springs officer.
Stephenson never filed a complaint against the officer who tased him despite other Balch Springs officers urging him to report it.
"I had two officers come to me and say I need to report it,” he said. “But I say it's like a hornet's nest. If I hit the hornet's nest, some are going to come after me and some are going to go the other way."
Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber says the sergeant's own officers ended up reporting the incident to him. After that, the video was reviewed by the Texas Rangers and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit.
Neither agency found evidence of criminal wrongdoing, but the chief reprimanded his sergeant and put him on "no contact with the public" until he completed a series of training courses.
"Do you feel somewhat relieved knowing that other cops said this is not okay and they went to the chief?" FOX 4 Reporter James Rose asked Stephenson.
"Yes sir,” he replied. “Because that lets me know that there are some cops that are righteous and that are doing the right thing."
The body cam leak came just two weeks after former Balch Springs Police Officer Roy Oliver was charged with murder for fatally shooting 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, which is unrelated to the 2016 case.
The Justice Department will review the Balch Springs Police Department for any possible evidence of civil rights violations in former cases.
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