Vancouver officer who threatened to use Taser on suspect’s genitals found not guilty of assault

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Self-defense, or unlawful use of force? A local jury determined the former in the case of Vancouver Police Officer Andrea Mendoza on Monday.

Mendoza was found not guilty of a fourth-degree assault charge after bodycam footage showed the officer pull down Elijah Guffey-Prejean’s pants and threaten to use a Taser on his genitals after he resisted arrest for stealing candy bars from Walmart in May of 2023.

The jury heard closing arguments from both sides on Monday.

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“Did Andrea Mendoza use lethal force? She did not. Did she inflict an injury on this person? She did not,” said Mendoza’s attorney John Terry.

“She was ticked off so, she decided to show him who was in charge, and when she did that she crossed a line,” added Clark County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Lauren Boyd.

Visibly shaken on the stand, Mendoza justified her actions on Friday, telling the jury it was the only method she could think of to stop the ongoing tussle, a detail backed up by Guffey-Prejean’s testimony, who claimed the threat was the catalyst for his compliance.

“I know through life experience that that is a sensitive and painful area and that it could do what I needed to do right then and there,” Mendoza said.

“I was kind of mad, but more in shock. I felt kind of violated, you know,” said Guffey-Prejean.

Prosecutors argued the officer’s actions were unnecessary and unlawful.

“If a Male officer pulled down a female suspect’s pants and put his taser against her vagina, that action would not be acceptable. It is not acceptable when Andrea Mendoza did it to Elijah,” Boyd said.

KOIN 6 has reached out to the Vancouver Police Department for a comment on the verdict. Mendoza has been on administrative leave for the past three years.

This is a developing story.

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