Fredericksburg Police officer resigns after use of force on suspect deemed 'not appropriate'

David Washington. (Fredericksburg Police)

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (WJLA) – A Fredericksburg Police officer has resigned after allegedly using excessive force during an arrest earlier this month.

Officer Shaun Jergens reportedly used his Taser and pepper spray on a man police said was involved in a hit-and-run on May 4.

Fredericksburg Police said a 911 call came in about a hit-and-run collision at approximately 5 p.m. from the driver of a Jeep whose vehicle had just been struck by a silver Hyundai traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of Route 1 near the University of Mary Washington pedestrian bridge.

The Hyundai had previously run over the median on Route 1 and knocked down a city road sign, according to police.

The Hyundai eventually ended up stationary in the intersection of Cowan Boulevard and Powhatan Street.

Two Fredericksburg officers who were the first to arrive on scene, Corporal Matt Deschenes and Sergeant Crystal Hill, held the Hyundai driver at gunpoint and ordered him out of his car. The driver, identified as David Washington, 34, of Fredericksburg, did not comply.

Jurgens arrived on scene a few minutes later. Police said Jurgens used his Taser on the man to get him to comply with the order to exit the vehicle. One of the Taser prongs apparently did not make a proper connection and the Taser was ineffective.

Jurgens then used his pepper spray on Washington and then Deschenes and Jurgens both removed Washington from the car.

An ambulance was called to treat Washington for the pepper spray exposure and remove the Taser prong attached to his skin. Washington was transported to a local hospital where doctors discovered that he was experiencing a medical emergency in the preceding hours.

After reviewing the incident in accordance with department policy, Command Staff determined that the force used by the officers involved in the incidence was “not appropriate."

Jurgens resigned from the department on May 14.

"The use of force demonstrated in the incident involving Mr. Washington was not in compliance with department policy or training," said Captain Rick Pennock in a news release. "We take matters such as these very seriously and require that officers at all times exercise appropriate restraint and good judgment in their dealings with citizens."

Police said Washington was changed with hit-and-run, hit-and-run (property damage), reckless driving, and driving on a revoked or suspended license. The charges are still pending and the warrants had not be served as of Friday.

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