Simulator helps police decide when to use force
A Lexington police officer has agreed to a three month suspension without pay after he used a Taser on a suspect in handcuffs in November, one month after he cursed at and pointed his Taser at a crowd of people who were complying with police commands, police documents show.
The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council unanimously approved the suspension of Lexington Officer Roberto Reyes Jr. at a May 2 meeting.
Reyes, who has been a police officer since 2016, responded to a call of a disturbance the The Burl on Thompson Road on Oct. 13. After officers arrived, a shot was fired, according to police records. Reyes approached the crowd and “begins ordering people to move while using multiple expletive phrases,” according to police documents.
Reyes later switches from his handgun to his Taser and pointed the “Taser at multiple people who are showing no signs of aggression or resistance towards officers, using it as an intimidation tool,” the report said.
Less than a month later, on Nov. 11, Reyes was responding to a domestic violence call where a suspect was arrested for assault. The suspect was handcuffed and placed in the back seat of Reyes’ police cruiser. While handcuffed, the suspect was able to maneuver his hands to the front of his body and get a cell phone. Reyes stopped the cruiser, got out, and “shortly thereafter deployed his Taser into the suspect while handcuffed.“
Reyes’ use of the Taser was “improper and not within policy.” Reyes was found to be in violation of department polices governing use of force and for general misconduct.
The Lexington Herald-Leader obtained the disciplinary records through an Open Records Act request.
The suspension is from May 13 to Aug. 4., according to the records.
The Nov. 11 Taser incident was reported to the department’s Public Integrity Unit, which investigates formal complaints against police officers, the day the incident occurred, police records show. The Oct. 13 incident at the Burl was not reported until Nov. 23.
Brenna Angel, a spokeswoman for the police department, said Reyes’ use of his Taser on Nov. 11 prompted the department to do a “Blue Team” report, which is completed when an officer discharges a weapon, points a firearm or uses some type of force.
During that Blue Team review, Lt. David Richardson, Reyes’ supervisor, “reviewed other incidents Reyes was involved with and became aware of what happened at the Burl,” Angel said. Richardson reported both incidents to the Public Integrity Unit.
In 2018, the department received seven formal complaints about excessive use of force.