Thanks to our Texas affiliate, John B., for staying abreast of dubious law enforcement goings-on in the Lone Star State, we have an update on officer W. Figueroa’s explanation of why he felt it necessary to pepper spray a group of passing motorcyclists. In a post by KXAS-TV, officer Figueroa is quoted saying in his report of the incident that, “multiple motorcycles would not vacate the lane closest to my marked patrol car. I deployed my pepper spray into the lane closest to me, at which point approaching motorcycles began to vacate the lane, allowing me to conduct a traffic stop.”

Why Is This Cop Macing Motorcyclists?

Are you f*$&ing kidding me? Nowhere in this video is any motorcycle remotely close enough to pose a threat to officer Figueroa to warrant pepper spray. Texas law may require motorists to vacate the lane immediately adjacent to where a police officer has stopped a vehicle, but claiming he needed to pepper spray approaching motorcycles to vacate the lane is complete BS. Would officer Figueroa pepper spray four-wheelers expecting the same result? This is nothing more than a failure of good judgement, and an excessive use of force for no apparent reason. This ordeal isn’t as bad as someone getting beaten or shot, but it is enough to reveal that officer Figueroa is a thick-headed troglodyte undeserving of the badge and its responsibilities. Officer jerk is currently on leave pending an investigation.

  • Starmag

    For what it’s worth, failure to vacate the lane next to a traffic stop is 3 points and a fine in Florida. The Move Over Law. I’ve seen horrendous videos of people plowing into traffic stops and cops for no apparent reason before. He was just frustrated and powerless so he acted out immaturely. This doesn’t strike me as that outlandish. Here you go:

    It would be great if this was the worst behavior we had to worry about out of LEOs, but it’s not:

    • Scott Petricig

      Sometimes it’s just not possible to move into the next lane (traffic), so I usually slow down. That’s also generally still OK under the law, at least in NY (and in TX as someone stated above). How they determine whether you slowed down enough is not clear, though.

      • Starmag

        It’s the same in Florida also, 20mph below the posted limit if you have to stay in the lane next to the traffic stop.

  • JMDonald

    Why didn’t he just shoot the first few riders. That would have definitely made sure the lane was vacated. How many more officer Figueroas are there out there? Too many I’d guess.

    • JoMeyer

      Comment of the day. Great use of sarcasm. 🙂

  • Bob Dragich

    “A thick-headed troglodyte”? C’mon, Tom; tell us what you really think. Hahahahaha. Good analysis of a bad person.

    • Rich

      Trog…that movie scared the crap outa me as a kid….Joan Crawford’s last film?

  • Old MOron

    The Texas statute, Transportation Code 545.157, is very clearly written in the disjunctive. Drivers must vacate the adjacent lane, OR slow down.*

    This guy’s excuse does not stand up.

    * to 20 mph below the posted speed limit or 5 mph, whichever is greater.

  • Dootin

    Funny thing is if a law enforcement officer is confronted by a unknown suspect that is using capstun against him, lethal force may be considered lawful.
    The officer will be fired at some point, since he acted outside the scope of his training, by not using preclusion prior to his use of force.
    I would also think the officer could be charged criminally with assault with a deadly weapon, since the act could have reasonably blinded the rider/s, causing a risk of serious bodily injury or even death. One count of assault w/ deadly weapon could be charged for each motorcyclist who was within range.

  • SteveSweetz

    Ok, so here’s the thing, if you did your research, maybe you wouldn’t be quite so vitriolic.

    This is a video made by that riding group from the exact ride during which this incident took place. You can see the red pickup track with guys filming from the bed at 0:33 is the same red pickup the cop pulled over, complete with guys still sitting the bed.

    Does their asinine behavior excuse what the cop did? No. Does it make it a little more understandable from a human perspective? Yup. Obviously, as a police officer he should have exercised more restraint than to give into emotion and should still be subject to reasonable punitive action – but he didn’t fly off the hook at a sedate riding group, he flew off the hook at a bunch of asshole stunters who believe the highway is their personal playground.

    Much like your outlet advised readers in that silly Snowcat situation – try to get the whole story next time before passing internet judgement.

    • Eric Ellis

      Totally agree with you here. Personally I actually think those dbag riders deserved what they got. That doesn’t excuse the police officer’s actions, however, because they have a strict code of conduct that he obviously violated.

    • Relax, it’s just a wheelie.

      • 9mileboy

        It’s a reckless, criminal act.

        • It’s only reckless if an unskilled person does it.

          • Dylan Hunter

            If you do a wheelie on an interstate with other traffic around you it’s not only stupid, it’s moronically stupid and the person doing it shouldn’t have a bike.

          • IF *I* did one, yes, because I’m not skilled at wheelies. But I’m not the kind of person that judges another person by my own lack of skill. You should try it sometime. You’ll have less fear.

          • Ser Samsquamsh

            At least people doing wheelies are paying attention unlike most of the people in their 5500lb SUVs who are eating pretzels and talking on the phone. Definitely stupid but you can’t kill anyone but yourself doing a wheelie.

          • throwedoff

            So the deliberate act of a wheelie to draw attention to one’s self does not affect any one else sharing the road with said motorcyclist? All it takes is one cager that is already talking on his cell phone to see the rider doing the wheelie and lose what little attention he had been using to keep his vehicle somewhat in his lane.

    • Craig Hoffman

      What the cop did was wrong, but the riders were hardly “innocent”. There was a plentitude of stupidity to go around in that situation.

      That is the problem with out of context sound byte comments and videos. Thanks for sharing the whole story.

      • Ian Parkes

        “But the riders were hardly innocent” is irrelevant. We appoint people to be cops to get away from this eye-for-an-eye caveman mentality. Although in this case, it wasn’t even that proportionate – trying to make several riders crash and perhaps lose lives or limbs because they failed to vacate a lane – or even because one of them exhibited some skill on a motorway that looks dangerous to the unskilled.

    • John B.

      What the riders did or did not do prior to the officer spraying mace makes no difference with respect to evaluating the officer’s conduct. Police officer is a job where one must exercise good judgment even in highly stressful situations. In particular, people who succumb to their temper make terrible cops.

      Officers routinely encounter situations where people flout the law and otherwise do things that warrant an ass-kicking or worse; i.e., hit and run drivers, child predators, men who hit women, angry drunks and dopers, and brawlers to name a few. In every situation, a police officer MUST exercise good judgment and may NEVER lose his/her temper. Among other things, the municipality that employs the officer faces massive financial exposure whenever an officer loses it and hurts someone. In short, an officer who cannot control his temper and exercise good judgement even in frustrating circumstances must be terminated. Police may NEVER act like the criminals they encounter.

      In this case the officer exercised poor judgement, which endangered unnecessarily the motorcyclists and the people in surrounding vehicles. I am confident Fort Worth PD will terminate the officer. The only remaining issue is whether the riders will sue the police department, and/or whether the Fort Worth District Attorney will charge the officer with a crime.

      In America, we value freedom and personal liberty. As such, our constitution stacks the deck in criminals’ favor (right to remain silent, right to effective assistance of counsel, right to jury trial, habeas corpus, presumption of innocence, prohibition against unreasonable searches, etc.). In places like Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, among others, thieves and drug dealers get the death penalty with very little due process. That makes for highly effective law enforcement and low incarceration rates, but greatly limits personal liberty.

      The officer’s “necessity defense” is likely the best argument his attorney could muster given the damning evidence in the video. Obviously, the officer will not simply admit he lost his temper and struck out at the motorcyclists. The officer may be a great guy, but he should not be a police officer. The video does not change anything with respect to evaluating the officer’s conduct. Being a police officer is a very tough job, and not everyone can handle the difficult situations police encounter every day.

      • I’m in total agreement with John B.’s wordy explanation. And let’s be clear, I’m made no statement regarding the motorcyclists’ behavior before or after the video. There may very well have been some idiot bikers in that group, but that doesn’t justify the officer’s use of pepper spray, or support his explanation for using pepper spray.

        • John B.

          I did not have time to make my comment shorter. Yea, wordy….

      • Campisi

        I’d be gobsmacked if they actually fired him for this. Cops have received promotions for worse crimes.

      • SteveSweetz

        Er, thank you for that completely superfluous essay. Like I said, this doesn’t excuse his actions or absolve him from punishment; police officers should indeed be expected to keep their emotions in check better than the rest of us.

        However, at least from the perspective of “hey, I’m a flawed human too and do dumb things when I’m angry” I can now at least understand what motivated his reaction and would be less likely to fling various insults at him in a “I’m passing judgement in the court of social media” manner.

        • John B.

          You reached unsubstantiated conclusions based on the video to justify your sympathy, and to criticize Tom for not telling the whole story.

          In fact, no one knows the whole story. We do know, however, the justification the officer provided (necessity) is nonsensical, which is Tom’s only point.

          I rarely find platitudes (e.g., we’re all flawed humans) persuasive.

          I hope you find this comment pithy and not superfluous.

          • SteveSweetz

            What conclusions where those exactly? I also didn’t disagree with Tom’s point, just his tone. Strawman harder bro.

            I also stand by my criticism, because as far as forming a personal opinion of this incident is concerned (which is all that matters to us as readers since we have nothing to do with the actual judgement against the officer), having context of what these riders were doing matters.

            As said, MO themselves cautioned people against passing judgement (and when I say “judgement” I of course mean forming a personal opinion and then spouting it on the internet, which is largely meaningless in the grand scheme of things) having only one piece of the story with that Snowcat nonsense last week, and here they are doing the same.

          • Ian Parkes

            Okay now you have the context. There’s always a context. I suppose this is more relevant than something like him having just been dumped by his girlfriend, but it doesn’t mitigate his actions one jot. Nothing does. That’s Tom B.s point and the point John B. makes in his first (wordy) sentence, never mind the rest of it.

          • John B.

            I knew I shouldn’t have skipped a step, but didn’t want to be “wordy” again.

            You concluded the officer knew about and/or saw the cyclists’ “asinine” behavior, AND that behavior made him so angry he maced the motorcyclists.

            Officer F said nothing about being angry about the riders’ conduct. He said it was necessary to mace the riders to conduct a traffic stop (which I think is total bull). Thus, you’re speculating about officer F’s motives to justify your sympathy for him and to criticize Roderick’s tone.

            I have no sympathy for Officer F because police must have better judgment than this officer demonstrated. Moreover, I have no problem judging him and/or his conduct. He needs to find a new line of work; air traffic controller or concealed carry instructor perhaps.

          • SteveSweetz

            Dude, seriously? Obviously he’s going to try make an excuse and not admit to acting out of anger. Were you born yesterday or are you just being excessively pedantic for the sake of having a pointless internet argument? Either way I don’t really care.

            At least people now have more context upon which to form their own largely meaningless personal judgement of the guy.

          • John B.

            I was born yesterday. If a newborn can expose the flaws in your rhetoric, perhaps you should reconsider your position. That’s what intelligent people do.

          • SteveSweetz

            Reconsider what position? That I won’t completely demonize a guy for making a mistake that was really dumb, but ultimately harmed no one, while still supporting that he suffer appropriate consequences with respect to the position in which he was employed. Nah, I’m ok with that rhetoric.

            Truly intelligent people don’t argue with strawmen on the internet because they disparately need to feel superior to someone, anyone.

          • SteveSweetz

            Reconsider what position? That I won’t completely demonize a guy for making a mistake that was really dumb, but ultimately harmed no one, while still supporting that he suffer appropriate consequences with respect to the position in which he was employed. Nah, I’m ok with that rhetoric, thanks.

          • Ian Parkes

            I suspect he’ll rule out air traffic control, unless he can pack SAMs.

  • Sentinel


  • Jim Greer

    Soooo, Vacation time for Mr Dimwit.

    • Bruce Steever

      That’s OFFICER Dimwit, to you, civilian!

  • Ian Sutton

    Ignorant asshole cops like him = The few other decent cops out there tarnished with dickheads like him… This cunt deserves to be shot in the face with a 12 gauge loaded with dog shit

    • Oroku Saki

      Haha, what a colorful eye for an eye example 😉

    • Barry_Allen

      Wish I could help, but the evidence in my yard indicates the neighbors poodle only has .410 sphincter. Across the street there’s a horse that could fill a howitzer if you want to go that route.

  • Vrooom

    It seems like there was a huge likelihood of a crash and injuries from that action, regardless of what idiots the bikers were. That’s exactly what the cop is there to prevent. Riding blind is a bitch.

  • Greybeard1

    I may have to admit to a faulty imagination but I can’t conceive of a situation where Mace would be suggested, approved of or condoned as an effective traffic control tool.
    Cones, signs, road flares, active direction from traffic control personnel including the officer would seem more functional in diverting traffic than the “Barney Fife Operation Ranch Hand” method employed by this hopefully erstwhile defender of justice.

    Johnny Squid gets a helmet full of debilitating spray and deserves to potentially die for hangin’ a wheel?
    Naaah, I don’t think so.
    Oh, wait…maybe he was a squid of color and REALLY freaked the fuzz out!

    If, after assessing a far less than stressful situation, this was that cop’s only avenue of response, he should be sweeping the street and not patrolling it.

  • dbc105

    It Texas and he is a cop, thank God he didn’t shoot and kill someone.

  • Oroku Saki

    “Are you f*$&ing kidding me? Nowhere in this video is any motorcycle remotely close enough to pose a threat to officer Figueroa to warrant pepper spray.”

    Hmmm, at 0:14 during the slo-mo, you can see more than one rider that went by the cop car like 1 foot off the white line… If the cop had opened the door any sooner, it might have caused one of the shoulder hugging riders to overcorrect or something… maybe.

    Still doesn’t excuse the cop’s actions though. Just a response to your quoted text.

  • Paul DeLay

    That is what you get for living in Texass! The whole State is filled with a bunch of Republicon rednecks!!!

    • schizuki

      Don’t worry, it’s slowing going the way of Colorado, New Mexico, Maine and New Hampshire – increasingly infested with progs fleeing the unlivable messes they’ve created in California and Massachusetts and soiling their new nests with their same idiot politics.

      • throwedoff

        Hopefully, the infestation will limit itself to the Austin area. Paul, we’re glad you don’t like Texas. Means, one less liberal we have to worry about.

        • Gabriel Owens


        • VTR1

          More than likely just another liberal whose never even been to TX. They’re pretty much all like that. They “learn” about the rest of the country outside of their urban area from the Daily Show.

  • Vern Terwilliger

    Most interesting part is according to texas law they dont have to vacate the lane if ya slow down 20 mph below the posted limit or 5 mph below if the speed limit is 25 mph or less

  • Rick

    Texas doesn’t require vehicles to vacate the lane. The law says move over or slow to 20mph under the posted speed limit. So, the officer was completely wrong no matter how you look at it.