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Pinellas Park Man Tasered While Trying to Save His Home from Fire

Posted on November 15, 2012

A 42-year-old Pinellas Park man who had grabbed a garden hose and was attempting to douse a fire that was moving close to his property, was allegedly tasered by police for not complying with their orders to back away from the fire.

According to the man, he was fighting a fire that was creeping from a neighbor’s house to his fence when police arrived and told him to move away from the fire. The man claims he complied, but grew frustrated because he felt firefighters weren’t arriving soon enough.

He told the Miami Herald that when he leaned back down and grabbed the hose again, Pinellas Park police used a Taser on him. Instead of fighting a fire, he was writhing on the ground.

The Pinellas Park Police Department said that while they sympathize with the man wanting to protect his property, he put himself and officers in danger by not backing away from the fire. A captain with the department stated that they could have charged him with obstruction, but chose not to.

Family, neighbors, and friends have a different take on the situation. They say that the police crossed the line, and an attorney for the man called the Taser use, “excessive force.”

The Miami Herald reports that Pinellas Park police policy dictates that there be a warning issued before Taser use. The attorney claims there was no warning. She also suggested that perhaps police could have grabbed her client or simply turned off the water rather than shocking him with a stun device.

The Taser victim said he was disappointed with the police. “It was wrong … I wasn’t fighting police. I thought they were here to help me. Instead, they hurt me.”

While Taser use generally is a non-fatal alternative to using a firearm, police are still obligated to follow policies designed to curb abuses of power. If you’ve been harmed in a Taser incident, the Pinellas County Taser injury victim lawyers at Farah & Farah are here to discuss your case and outline your legal options. We can be reached at (800) 533-3555.