The Texas cop who was forced to resign last December after being caught on camera putting a young woman in a chokehold for refusing to provide identification, has obtained a new job.
Gary Witherspoon, who lost his job as a Nueces County Attorney investigator, is now a bailiff working under the Nueces County Sheriff’s Office.
The incident that led to Witherspoon’s resignation took place in a Corpus Christie Whataburger parking lot in August 2014 where Lanessa Espinosa was recording police officers conducting an investigation of a fight.
Although Espinosa was not involved in the fight, officers took issue with her recording the incident and demanded that she provide identification. Espinosa questioned the officers’ demand by asking what she was being charged with. That was when Witherspoon and Lockhart escalated the situation.
“There is a probable cause for us to be out here,” Lockhart said. “I want to know who you are, so I’m requesting your ID. You fail to ID, I’m going to take you into jail. And that’s law.”
“What’s my charge?
“You’re not being charged with anything.”
“Then I don’t have to show you my ID, sir.”
“You’re involved in an investigation. You want to interfere with an investigation, you’re going to jail for interfering with a police officer in performance of his investigation. Do you understand that? DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT?”
Not long after Witherspoon referred to Espinosa as a “jail house lawyer” for exercising her rights, he placed her in a chokehold which quickly went viral after the video was posted to YouTube.
The PINAC research team would later obtain dashcam footage of the incident which contradicted the officer’s accounts that night, forcing Witherspoon to resign and Lockhart to be disciplined for attempting to delete Espinosa’ cell phone video.
Now, just a few months later, Witherspoon sports a badge issued to him by the sheriff’s office for his new position as bailiff. Witherspoon’s new boss, Sheriff Jim Kaelin, downplayed the chokehold incident and is even painting him as a victim in a statement he made to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times:
“[Witherspoon] has been punished horribly, horribly, horribly.”
When asked why he hired Witherspoon in the first place, the Sheriff avoided the question, by answering with a question..
“Why would I not hire him, would be the question upon the question? Why would I not?” Kaelin said.
We could all think of at least one reason.