A pedicab driver was tased by a U.S. Park Police officer Friday afternoon outside the Air and Space Museum on the National Mall.
Police say the pedicab driver assaulted the officer. But witnesses say tensions between pedicab drivers and Park Police have begun to boil over and called it a clear use of excessive force.
"I was completely shocked. I've never seen quite so brutal an act of violence in any situation in my entire of life before," says Tyler Clark, a witness. "And I was sitting there with my jaw dropped."
Fellow pedicab drivers were appalled about what happened after fellow driver Charles Guillon pulled up to the museum on Jefferson Drive.
Police say they told him to get out of the crosswalk, but he refused, so they threatened to write him a ticket. Officers say Guillon then assaulted the officer, and got tased.
But Clark and another witness who, fearing retaliation, wouldn't show his face on camera to ABC7, say that assault never happened.
"I didn't see anything that looked remotely like an assault or battery on the police officer," Clark says.
"Apparently his passengers had been told to get off his cab," another witness says. "He went over across the street to where the museum was and tried to let the customers on, and was blocked by a police officer."
They say things had already calmed down, when the officer tased Guillon in the ribs. They watched their friend drop to the ground, screaming and writhing in pain. He hit his head hard on the police cruiser.
And then the officer fired again.
"It was very much like an episode of Cops where the officer says stop resisting arrest when it doesn't really look like the person's resisting arrest," Clark said.
Tonight, drivers showed up in numbers at Park Police headquarters, where they say police continue to hold their friend.
Outside they sought justice.
"We would like the Park Police to stop treating us like criminals and to treat us with a little respect," said a driver.