AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Department of Public Safety has suspended a trooper claiming his actions during a traffic stop were unprofessional and a violation of policy.
Trooper Zachary Maini tased a woman because he says, "she was not complying," and the woman says, "the trooper was aggressive without reason." The tense encounter between Clateachia Stewart and DPS Trooper Zachary Maini was caught on camera.
"Why is he acting like this? What did I do? What did I do that upset him? Why is he so angry?," said Stewart.
Stewart says if it was not for her hitting the record button before the encounter, she would not have remembered any of the details of that night.
On August 28, Stewart says she was driving on I-35 on her way to work when she saw lights behind her. Being on the highway, she decided to take the nearest exit off on Manor Road and pulled into a well-lit parking lot.
She said she did it for not only her safety, but for the safety of the law enforcement official, as well. She even says she made hand motions to the trooper to let him know her next move.
"It never once occurred to me, he thinks ‘you're evading’ or he thinks ‘you're fleeing,’" she said.
However, when she pulled over, things escalated fast, and she decided to record from her phone.
FULL VIDEO OF TRAFFIC STOP:
"He had, you know, his weapon drawn. I didn't know if it was his taser, his gun, or what to be honest, but he had his weapon drawn down to the ground, and he's yelling for me to get out of the car," said Stewart.
Stewart says the officer did not tell her why she was being pulled over or why she was told to get out of the car. Because of the aggressive tone he was using, avoiding her questions, and pulling her out of the car, she was scared.
There was back and forth between the two for several minutes. Trooper Maini asking her to put her hands behind her back and Stewart pleading with him to tell her why she is being arrested. However, it all came to a head when Maini pulled out his taser and tased Stewart.
"I felt this burning sensation down my spine and next thing I know, I was falling back, and I hit my head," she said.
Stewart was arrested for resisting arrest and evading arrest. She has since been released.
DPS released a statement on the incident:
"On August 28, 2022, just before 11 p.m., Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Trooper Zachary Maini initiated a traffic stop in Travis County. A review of the video of Trooper Maini’s interaction with the driver raises serious concerns that Trooper Maini acted unprofessionally and in violation of DPS policy. This matter has been referred to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) and Trooper Maini is suspended pending the outcome of that investigation by OIG.
Trooper Maini started with DPS in 2017, and is stationed in Austin. No additional information is available at this time."
"As a public servant, his job is to protect and serve the public, and he was not protecting anything," said Stewart.