Pedicab drivers held an impromptu vigil in front of U.S. Park Police headquarters after they say one of their fellow drivers was shocked with a Taser while picking up passengers last week.
The pedicabbers say an officer with the U.S. Park Police confronted pedicab driver Charles Guillon, as he was picking up customers in his bicycle-drawn rickshaw Friday afternoon.
Tyler Clark, a law student driving a pedicab this summer, saw the whole thing.
"It was like an episode of Cops, where the officer screams, 'you're resisting arrest!' when it appeared like the guy wasn't resisting arrest," Clark says. "And the officer was just being way too forceful for anyone to comply with what he was asking them to do."
Clark says Guillon began to reach for his glasses in his shirt's breast pocket, when the officer un-holstered his Taser, pressed it against Guillon's ribcage, and fired.
"The pedicab driver dropped to the ground, was writhing and screaming in pain and agony," Clark says. "And the police officer shot him with the Taser one more time."
Pedicab drivers on the National Mall say Park Police officers are using brutal tactics this summer in a crackdown on their fledgling industry. One of them, Sarah Roberts, told WAMU last month that she was injured by a Park Police officer after refusing to provide identification.
The Park Police didn't respond to our phone calls and emails, but officials from the agency have previously denied the existence of a crackdown.