Pulled over for speeding and cooked on 73C pavement

By Cleve Wootson

Injuries suffered by Marc LeBeau in Arizona.
Injuries suffered by Marc LeBeau in Arizona.

As the passerby with the cellphone camera pulls up to the scene, Marc LeBeau is already on the hot Arizona pavement, squealing, and a trooper is on top of him.

"Lay down!" the trooper commands. "Lay down on your chest!"

"I can't," LeBeau, 34, screamed back. "Oh my God - oh it's hot. Can we please go to the rocks? Just the rocks? Please? Just move over to the (expletive) rocks?"

"You're resisting arrest," the trooper replies. "Do what I tell you and this won't be happening. . . .If you do what I tell you, it would be over already."

As the video circulated this week, the Arizona Department of Public Safety defended its trooper's handling of the arrest, saying LeBeau was combative and resisting. LeBeau says his flesh was being seared on the Arizona pavement on a day when the temperature was in the triple digits.

A site that tracks asphalt temperatures (for people walking their pets) estimates the ground temperature in Mesa around 1pm local time on Monday was about 165F (73.8C) - hot enough to cook a steak medium well.

The trooper, who has not been identified, encountered LeBeau just before 1pm local time on Monday. The trooper's radar gun clocked LeBeau's car going 95mp/h (152km/h) in a 65mp/h section of State Route 202, according to a DPS news release.

The DPS said LeBeau was slow to pull over and, when he finally did, he "suspiciously leaned out and reached towards the ground." The video shows he also wasn't wearing shoes.

As the officer tried to arrest LeBeau, a scuffle ensued, according to DPS:

"While attempting to take LeBeau into custody, he assaulted the trooper by pushing him while refusing to be handcuffed. LeBeau continued to push the officer while complaining the pavement was hot on his bare feet. The trooper was able to place one handcuff on him but was unable to gain control of LeBeau. The trooper continued to verbally and physically try getting LeBeau to sit on the curb so he could finish cuffing him. The struggle transitioned to the ground where LeBeau continued to resist arrest by turning and pulling away from the trooper and refusing to give him his hands."

Two passersby who saw the trooper struggling with LeBeau helped take him into custody. LeBeau was ultimately charged with criminal speed, resisting arrest and driving under the influence of drugs.

A close up from a video on YouTube of Marc LeBeau's injuries.
A close up from a video on YouTube of Marc LeBeau's injuries.

In an interview with Mesa ABC affiliate ABC 15, DPS Captain Damon Cecil defended the trooper's actions.

"We can't just not do our job because somebody decides to not wear shoes,"he said.

LeBeau told ABC 15 that he kept asking for his sandals during the confrontation, and afterwards.

"He kept telling me, 'No,' and you know, I'm up against the car, hands behind my back," LeBeau said. "I was like that for more than two minutes. He had more than enough time to cuff me."

In a public post on his Facebook page, LeBeau says he was not drunk or high. He also took to YouTube to try to prove that the situation - and his injuries - were not as troopers described.

In one of the comments, LeBeau says he was "moving his body to minimise the amount of skin that was in contact with the ground. This was further (interpreted) as resisting and then the suspect simply had limited ability to remain still since the flesh was being burned off him."

Video: https://youtu.be/OwlxHW_hyys

- Washington Post

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