Florida cop uses stun gun on a woman, 62; investigation launched
Times staff writer Christine Mai-Duc reports on the details of a video of a Florida police officer who used a stun gun on a 62-year-old woman. The officer is on leave and the incident is under investigation.
A Florida police officer is on leave and an internal investigation has been launched after video was released of the officer using a stun gun on a 62-year-old woman who was walking away from him.
Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo announced the investigation at a news conference Wednesday. DeLeo released the video, shot by a witness, saying he wanted to “be transparent with the community.”
Tallahassee police say Officer Terry Mahan was with a group of officers at about 5:20 p.m. Tuesday because there had been complaints about drug sales in the neighborhood.
Another officer had initially turned his squad car around after he saw several people walking in the small, narrow street, according to a police report.
The officer detained a man who refused to stop, at which point, a woman began to yell and “incite the crowd.”
According to authorities, the officers had detained three people when Viola Young walked up to one of the officers to ask about one of the people being arrested. Officers told her to stay back, DeLeo says.
The full video (warning: graphic language) shows Mahan walking past two squad cars and toward Young. He appears to attempt to grab her, but she turns her back and quickly walks away. Mahan then uses the stun gun on Young, and she falls face-first into the asphalt, eventually rolling over and flailing her arms on the ground.
“They tased an old lady,” one witness can be heard saying on the video.
Another officer then appears to grab her arm, rolling her onto her front side again, and puts handcuffs on her.
In a police report released by authorities, Mahan says Young pulled up to the scene, and that she and another man were yelling at officers. The man complied when Mahan told a group of people to back away, the report says, but Young refused, yelling, “I just want to know what is going on!”
Mahan says in the report that Young’s actions “obstructed officers while in the course of completing their legal duties.” After she refused another command from Mahan to back away, he said, he told Young she was under arrest and reached out for her left arm.
But, the report says, Young “yanked away” and was walking off “in an attempt to defeat her lawful arrest.” The officer says he then fired his Taser at her back.
“Based on the video, I have enough concerns to call for an internal investigation,” DeLeo said. “The investigation will determine not only if the officer’s actions were legal, but if those actions are consistent with the expectations that I have for officers and the way we treat members of our community with dignity and respect.”
Young was taken to jail and booked on suspicion of resisting an officer without violence, according to the report, after being cleared by Leon County paramedics. According to officials at the Leon County Jail, Young was no longer in custody as of late Wednesday morning, but there was no further information available about when she was released.
The other three individuals who were arrested, Quontarrious Jones, 23; Quaneshia Rivers, 20; and Laguna Young, 42, were also booked on suspicion of resisting an officer without violence. Laguna Young was also arrested on suspicion of violating her parole for a prior cocaine possession charge, according to police.
It was not immediately clear whether Viola Young had any ties to her or any of the other people detained.
Mahan is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, the department said.
For more breaking news, follow me @cmaiduc on Twitter.
Must-read stories from the L.A. Times
Get the day's top news with our Today's Headlines newsletter, sent every weekday morning.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.