ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) - - The NAACP St. Petersburg branch is investigating whether officers with the St. Petersburg Police Department used excessive force.
Daphnie Odom recorded cell phone video of officers shocking Lamonte Stephens with a Taser Friday night at the Shell Gas Station on 34th St. S.
In the video, Stephens is heard screaming, saying he can’t breathe. One of the officers appeared to throw a punch. The Taser is heard on more than one occasion.
Odom believes the officers went too far.
"He was down, you know, and then they Taser him,” she said.
Police said Stephens was found passed out behind the wheel at a gas pump with the engine running just after 10 p.m.
Detectives said he resisted officers' commands when he got out of the car and a struggle ensued.
"They went to the ground. The struggle continued. He was warned at least two times by officers to stop and follow instruction or he would be [Tasered],” said Sandra Bentil with the St. Petersburg Police Department.
Detectives said drugs and stolen items were found during a vehicle search.
"Check books, purses, wallets,” said Bentil.
Odom's video has gone viral.
"You know, if you've done wrong, okay. But either way, he's a human being and to just repeatedly Taser him and beat him on the back as you saw in the video, I just felt like that was a bit much,” said Odom.
Police said Stephens was medically cleared on scene and he’s also cooperating with detectives.
He’s charged with burglary, resisting an officer and possession of marijuana.
The officers involved remain working while the investigation is ongoing.