A judge in Virginia is weighing whether to throw out criminal charges against a white police officer accused of using excessive force on a disoriented Black man, a decision that hinges on complaints about prosecutors' conduct in the case.
Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Brett Kassabian told prosecutors on Friday that he would rule within seven to 10 days on whether to take the “draconian measure” of dismissing the misdemeanor charges against Fairfax County police officer Tyler Timberlake.
The Washington Post reports that Kassabian accused prosecutors of failing to disclose evidence to the officer's attorney and making statements that appeared to be misleading.
Body camera video shows Timberlake using a stun gun on La Monta Gladney, punching the man and sticking his knees on the man’s neck without any apparent provocation after the officer responded to a call in June 2020.
Gladney said the incident was "traumatizing."
Timberlake’s defense attorney said his client had believed that Gladney was someone else and it was a case of "mistaken identity."
Timberlake’s attorney, Brandon Shapiro, said prosecutors from Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano's office withheld a lengthy report by the case's lead detective, a 911 call, a bystander's video of the encounter and an interview with the victim posted on YouTube.
The lead detective, Fairfax County police Lt. Ryan Lazisky, testified on Friday that he gave all of that evidence to prosecutors months ago.
Fairfax County Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Dennis Somech argued prosecutors are only required to disclose the material no later than 60 days before a trial. Timberlake’s trial on three misdemeanor counts is scheduled for the fall of 2022.