FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Day two of the trial of a Fairfax County police officer accused of assaulting an unarmed and incoherent man has concluded, and supporters of the alleged victim fear the prosecution is struggling.
Defense attorneys insist Officer Tyler Timberlake was well within department guidelines when he tasered La Monta Gladney in Mount Vernon. Prosecutors call it a crime.
Even with bodycam video, prosecutors have to prove to a jury that when Timberlake tasered Gladney, hit him in the back of the head, and tasered him again, it amounted to three counts of misdemeanor assault and battery.
"It seems like they’re struggling," said Robin McMillan, the mother of Gladney's son, who spent several hours watching the trial over the last two days. "They could be stronger. The prosecutor is struggling, because it's a hard case."
Over the objections of the Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Lyle Burnham, Timberlake's lawyer played a second bodycam video. It shows Gladney in the back of the ambulance after he'd been tasered and wrestled into handcuffs and leg restraints. He's screaming incoherently and shouting the N-word at medics -- until they inject him with ketamine to calm him down.
Timberlake's lawyer, Brandon Shapiro, said Gladney was high on PCP. He said when Timberlake tasered him seconds after arriving at the scene, it was the least lethal choice.
McMillan doesn't buy it.
"Even if he was under the influence of any alcohol or drugs, why would you beat him up?" she asked. "Don't you lock him up and throw him in the drunk tank?"
The prosecution's third witness was Fairfax County Police Lieutenant Brian Lazisky, who got the arrest warrants against Timberlake. Lazisky testified it was an unusual investigation, that he was basically ordered to arrest the officer.
On redirect, prosecutor Lyle Burnham never asked the lieutenant if he thought what he saw on the video was enough to charge the officer with assault.
The trial is expected to last until the end of the week.