Arizona Trooper Caught on Video Forcing Man into Hot Asphalt
An Arizona state trooper who pulled a man over for speeding was captured on video wrestling with the driver on the street as the man yelled out in pain about being forced to lay facedown on the hot asphalt as temperatures soared over 100 degree Monday.
The video was recorded by a passing motorist named Austin Maxwell who posted it on Facebook. Maxwell had pulled up after the altercation began, so we cannot see what led to it.
However, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said the driver, Marc LeBeau, 34, pushed the trooper after he had been pulled over for driving 95 mph in a 65 mph speed zone.
In response to an email from Photography is Not a Crime, police said that although the department issues dash and body cams, the trooper in the video did not have either one at the time of the arrest.
So we have to take the word of police.
What we do see is that LeBeau, who was barefoot, was screaming in pain as the cop who looked to weigh more than 200 pounds was forcing him to lay down on the asphalt at 12:55 p.m., a time when temperatures were soaring past 100 degrees.
After almost two minutes of struggling with the man, a couple of bystanders ran up and helped the trooper handcuff and arrest him.
This is how the Arizona Department of Public Safety explained it in a press release:
On Monday, July 25, at about 12:55 p.m., 34-year-old Marc LeBeau was observed speeding on SR-202 near Brown Rd., traveling 95 MPH in a 65 MPH zone. A State trooper working radar in the area, initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle LeBeau was driving. LeBeau was slow to pull over; when the vehicle finally stopped, he opened the driver’s door, suspiciously leaned out and reached toward the ground. The trooper cautiously approached LeBeau, advising him of the reason for the stop and told him he was under arrest. While attempting to take LeBeau into custody, he assaulted the trooper by pushing him while refusing to be handcuffed. LeBeau continued to push the officer while complaining the pavement was hot on his bare feet. The trooper was able to place one handcuff on him but was unable to gain control of LeBeau. The trooper continued to verbally and physically try getting LeBeau to sit on the curb so he could finish cuffing him. The struggle transitioned to the ground where LeBeau continued to resist arrest by turning and pulling away from the trooper and refusing to give him his hands. Two passing motorist stopped to help the trooper get LeBeau into handcuffs. In 30 seconds LeBeau was under control and a few seconds later in the back of the patrol car.
And this is how the department explained it to PINAC regarding the nonexistent body and dash cameras:
The trooper that arrested Mr. LeBeau did not have a dash or body camera. The only video is the amateur video that has been put out. We do not have an estimated temperature of the roadway yesterday but we do know that Mr. LeBeau suffered only minor scrapes and no burns per medical personnel that treated him. As to your last question, I am a little confused. We do not make it a practice to place compliant suspects on the ground unless there are extreme hazards a trooper may face. This was not a case where there was any compliance from Mr. LeBeau. An attempt was made in this case to handcuff Mr. LeBeau standing up but he chose to push the trooper and resist arrest.
According to a researcher, temperatures on asphalt are much hotter than the actual temperature, reaching temperatures of 158 degrees when the temperature is 100 degrees.
So the question we have for you, if you had come across this situation without knowing the background, would you have rushed in to help the trooper?
What would you have done in that situation?
UPDATE: The Arizona Department of Public Safety defended the trooper in this incident, saying LeBeau was not only slow to pull over, but “he suspiciously leaned out and reached toward the ground” – whatever that’s supposed to mean.
They also say he was being combative and resisting, which is common cop talk for anybody not complying with their torture techniques.
LeBeau said he was only trying to keep his flesh from being seared on the asphalt that surpassed 165 degrees.
He also said he was not drunk or high as policed accused him of being. And he also posted a video to YouTube showing his hands scalded from the incident, which is reposted below.
PINAC investigative reporter Felipe Hemming contributed to this report.