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BVPD launches internal investigation into handling of Black Friday tasing

Cabela's at The Falls

The Bristol Virginia Police Department is now reviewing how two officers handled a tasing incident on Black Friday at Cabela’s in Bristol.

According to the police report, two BVPD sergeants working private security for the store tried to question Chris Blevins Jr. about suspected shoplifting, after an employee said Blevins had been in and out of the store all morning.

Police say Blevins became combative and refused to cooperate with their commands. After being warned that he would be tased if he didn’t comply, one officer “drive-stunned” Blevins in the right shoulder.

Blevins still refused to put his hands behind his back, and he was stunned for a second time.

No stolen items were found on Blevins person or in his vehicle, and no charges were filed.

The sergeants, who share 39 years of experience with BVPD between them, violated department protocol when they did not report the incident to their supervisor or file a “use of force” report that day.

“For this to happen to a department and actually be generated from two supervisors in the department did catch [Chief John Austin] off guard,” Lt. Clay Robinette told WCYB.

A civil lawsuit against Cabela’s filed on behalf of Blevins accuses the loss prevention staff at the store of false imprisonment and assault, and demands $500,000 in damages. The two sergeants involved in the case are not specifically named in the suit.

Cabela’s has until April 10th to reply to the complaint. Bass Pro, on behalf of Cabela’s, and the attorney representing Blevins declined to comment on the pending litigation.

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