A Florida cop has been fired for repeatedly using an electroshock weapon on a shoplifting suspect who was inside a residence with hands raised. The officer’s police report said the suspect “refused to show his hands,” according to local media.
Police authorities in Zephyrhills, Florida announced the firing of 10-year veteran officer Tim Claussen on Friday. The footage of Claussen tasering Lester Brown, who complained of shoulder aches and dizziness after he was arrested, was captured on the video camera attached to the officer’s Taser.
“Come outside now, or you’re about to get tased,” Claussen said on the video. “This is the last time.” Suddenly, Brown is shocked, and shortly afterward he’s seen falling to the ground in the footage. According to the city attorney’s office, “the deployment of the Taser was unjustified.”
The firing of the 36-year-old officer comes as police officers’ conduct is under intense internal and external scrutiny. In the wake of high-profile shootings nationwide, both the cops and the public have become fixated on filming one another. In this instance, police released the video on Friday. Police officials learned of the September 9 tasering after a routine review of police reports.
Brown, 42, was arrested for allegedly shoplifting earlier in the day, as police said they found stolen clothing in the suspect’s house and car. Local prosecutors dropped the retail-theft charge at the request of the police department.
Capt. Derek Brewer told the Tampa Bay Times that race was not a factor in the white officer tasering the black suspect in this instance.
“We didn’t see any evidence that it was racially motivated in any way,” Brewer said.
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