LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Court records say a constable told police his gun fired accidentally after a shoplifting suspect drove over his foot in a Walmart parking lot.
Constable David Whitlock was charged with second-degree assault and first-degree wanton endangerment following the November incident, and Monday at his arraignment he entered a plea of not guilty, according to the Courier-Journal. Investigators found witness statements and video contest the notion his foot was injured, and instead suggest he approached the vehicle of Tammie Ortiz with his weapon drawn.
In the surveillance video, Ortiz gets in her truck after store security surrounded her, and Whitlock exits his white SUV and draws his weapon. Whitlock said he was trying to stop Ortiz and believed she may have struck a Walmart employee.
"And I remember raising my gun up at her, trying to get her to stop ... and I’m trying to reach in with one of my arms, I guess to try to put it in park," Whitlock said, adding that he then felt “something pinching my foot really bad, like it was being hit or something, like run over.”
Police said Ortiz was struck in the face and the shoulder, and then drove away, WLKY reported. Whitlock has been criticized for "changing his story" after some said he did not suffer pain in his foot as he claimed, though his defense attorney says otherwise.
"I think what he said was, he didn't mean to discharge the weapon. That's what the discovery said, and he was pretty clear about that," said defense attorney Brian Butler, adding that "it's clearly notes that he had a contusion, or bruise, and that he was prescribed medication for that."
Attorneys believe audio and video are key as the case continues. Whitlock was granted unsecured $10,000 bond on the condition he cannot access firearms, and he and will reppear in court on Feb. 21.