(NBC/WBBH) – Newly-released video shows a Florida Highway Patrol trooper tasing a 16-year-old in his girlfriend’s backyard.
According to Kristina Rodeman, her son was walking to his girlfriend’s house in a Fort Myers community when a trooper started following him.
An incident report says the trooper stopped and began following the teenager because “his behavior, demeanor, and body language appeared to be a burglar.”
The trooper said the teen then ran through a line of bushes separating the backyard and the entrance to the community. That’s when the trooper approached the teen with his taser drawn and commanded him to put his hands up.
Security video shows the trooper then deploying his taser, hitting the teenager twice.
The trooper who fired the taser is still patrolling the streets during the review. Criminal justice professor, Dave Thomas, says this is normal.
“In most instances it is. The only time I see it change is when there’s a shooting, and that’s when they would pull them out of the rotation,” Thomas said.
He says the trooper had the right to enforce state law and didn’t have to wait for another agency to respond. But he does take issue with the use of the taser.
“Officers often times will use the taser to force compliance. The kid’s still not resisting, so there really was no need to tase him a second time. So the use of the taser the second time was excessive. The first time was excessive, but the second time was just totally uncalled for,” he said.
Rodeman says she’s grateful her son is still alive. She hopes parents and kids watch this and handle situations with law enforcement differently.
“Tell your kids to just put their hands up, because it’s not worth it. That could’ve ended really bad. He could’ve been killed,” the teen’s mom said.
The teen was taken to a detention center on multiple charges including failure to obey a law enforcement officer, possession of marijuana, resisting arrest, loitering and prowling.
The Florida Highway Patrol said it’s conducting an internal investigation into the incident.