Florida officials have announced charges against two people involved in an attempted arrest at a gas station that went horribly wrong after a taser set off a fiery explosion: the deputy and the injured man himself.
Jean BarretoThe 27-year-old has been in hospital since being “cooked alive” by his lawyer Mark NeJame according to a press release on Wednesday. Barreto reportedly suffered third-degree burns on around 75 percent of his body, front and back, from his feet to his neck.
Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez announced the charges against Barreto and Deputy David Crawford at a press conference on Thursday.
Barreto, Lopez said, was part of a group of people who recklessly rode motorcycles on Osceola County roads. Lopez said Barreto has been identified as a suspect. A helicopter followed overhead as Barreto allegedly drove the wrong direction and ran red lights.
Police tried to arrest him as he was filling up at the Wawa gas station. A fight ensued, and Barreto’s bike was knocked over, spilling fuel on him. At that time, a deputy is said to have tried to overpower Barreto with a taser.
The taser ignited a huge fire that was captured on video from the helicopter, which appeared to show both Barreto and the deputy ablaze.
“In Osceola County, we have zero tolerance for this type of behavior,” Lopez said Thursday, referring to Barreto’s alleged reckless driving. “We will identify and catch you even if you flee to another county.”
Crawford, the deputy, faces culpable negligence charges, Lopez said.
“He was aware there was gas in the immediate area, he said, ‘Turn off the pump, there’s gas,’ then he grabbed a discarded taser and told the suspect, ‘You’re about to be tasered again dude,'” Lopez told the press conference, “His actions were reckless, and his disregard for life rises to the point of gross negligence.”
NeJame said Barreto has spent 10 weeks in the hospital and is still undergoing “potentially life-saving but excruciatingly painful treatment.”
“He is skinless on most of his body, his skin has been burned off,” NeJame said in a press release on Wednesday, adding that Barreto will be placed in a medically induced coma in the coming days to receive further treatments.
NeJame said that “many questions remain” about the sheriff’s office investigation into the incident and requested that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) take over the investigation.
NeJame also called on the U.S. Department of Justice to “step in and begin an investigation into the protocols, practices, policies and procedures of the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.”
At Thursday’s news conference, Lopez said he did not turn the investigation over to the FDLE because a firearm was not used and the taser was considered a “less lethal” force. He also said he had “complete confidence” in his department’s ability to conduct a fair investigation.
Neither NeJame Law nor the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to Law&Crime’s request for comment.
[Photo of Jean Barreto provided by NeJame Law.]
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https://lawandcrime.com/crime/a-florida-deputy-allegedly-left-a-biker-cooked-alive-after-his-taser-ignited-a-gas-station-both-of-them-now-face-charges/ Jean Barreto faces charges after being injured by a taser at a gas station