A Florida dirt bike rider was “cooked alive,” according to his lawyer, after a deputy sheriff deployed a taser at a gas station. Both now are set to face charges.
Cops got into a scuffle with the man at the Wawa convenience store in the Orlando area where he was apparently refilling his tank. In the the melee, his bike reportedly tipped over and spilled fuel.
Osceola County Deputy David Crawford reportedly activated a taser, which allegedly ignited a fireball that severely burned the suspect, identified in media accounts as Jean Baretto, 26, as well as injuring Crawford and other officers on the scene
“According to the sheriff’s office, the deputies were attempting to arrest Baretto who had fled after allegedly being part of a group of motorcyclists driving recklessly and allegedly pointing a gun at other drivers,” NBC affiliate WESH reported about the Februrary 27 incident.
The encounter was recorded on newly released, dramatic bodycam footage. Deputy Crawford is on paid administrative leave; authorities have charged him with culpable negligence, a misdemeanor.
Crawford, who can seemingly be heard allegedly advising the suspect that “You’re about to get tasered again, dude,” apparently used the device that another officer had dropped.
According to Sheriff Lopez, Crawford “was aware there was gas in the immediate area. He says ‘kill the pump, there’s gas,'” WFLA reported.
Watch and draw your own conclusions:
(Videos: Daily Mail)
“[Osceola Sheriff Marcos] Lopez said the department’s investigation concludes Baretto should be charged with fleeing and attempting to elude law enforcement, reckless driving and resisting without violence,” WESH added.
Bareto has been hospitalized for about three months so far with third-degree burns on 75 percent of his body.
“A report released by the state fire marshal says the most probable cause of the fire was an electric discharge from the deputy’s deployment of a department issued Taser device, and the ignition of the fire was accidental…The Florida’s Division of Investigative and Forensic Services’ report released Wednesday said Baretto is not expected to survive his injuries,” Fox News reported.
Bareto’s lawyer insists that his unarmed client didn’t commit a crime. “Regardless, attacking him at the Wawa, even after the fire marshal report indicated that any pursuit had ended, was a grossly excessive, unwarranted, and horrific abuse of police conduct and authority,” Attorney Mark NeJame asserted.
NeJame is calling for either the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or the U.S. Justice Department to open an investigation.
Sheriff Lopez indicated that he did not get the FDLE involved because no firearm was used in the incident.