In yet another alleged case of taser abuse, Florida Yoga instructor Elizabeth Beeland was tasered by Daytona Beach Officer Claudia Wright for being loud and profane. She was later charged with the highly enigmatic crime of resisting a police officer without violence as well as disorderly conduct.
Office Wright does not allege that Beeland was violent. Rather, she reported that she used her Taser because Beeland was “verbally profane, abusive, loud and irate” and pointed her finger “towards my face” and was waving her arms. Here is what reportedly occurred:
It was Nov. 26 when 35-year-old Elizabeth Beeland of Ormond Beach stopped at the store to purchase a CD player for her father, she told The Daytona Beach News-Journal before refusing to speak more about the incident.
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Police Chief Mike Chitwood said if a Taser had not been available, his officer likely would have used other weapons to subdue Beeland.
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The chief said Wright initially approached Beeland under the assumption a credit card had been stolen. In the end, it was determined Beeland was using her own card and had committed no crime.
But according to Wright’s report — the officer declined comment for this story — Beeland yelled to the point of disrupting business at the Best Buy and she would not comply with the officer’s commands. Wright warned Beeland she could be arrested and ultimately, could be shot with the Taser, unless she calmed down, the report shows.
Wright, at the store investigating another matter, was called over by a Best Buy cashier that afternoon after Beeland — who was about to pay for her item with a credit card — suddenly left her transaction unfinished and walked outside.
The cashier apparently thought the card was stolen because of Beeland’s sudden exit, the report indicates. When Wright caught up with Beeland just outside the glass doors, Wright said, Beeland began yelling at her, even at one point using the “F” word.
The officer said she asked Beeland to calm down. She then asked Beeland to step inside the store so it could be determined whether the credit card left with the cashier was hers.
Once inside, Wright states Beeland kept yelling at her and causing a disruption. She says Beeland’s screaming drew a crowd of patrons. Wright said she told Beeland if she didn’t calm down, she would be arrested.
Finally, Wright warned Beeland if she didn’t quit the commotion, she would have to deploy her Taser.
A tape from the store’s surveillance camera shows Beeland motioning with her hands and talking to Wright. She is seen slowly backing away from Wright as the officer advances.
Then, in one fell swoop, the tape shows Wright reaching for the Taser gun and shooting Beeland in the abdomen. She crumpled to the floor.
What is incredible is the response of Chief Chitwood who stated that his officer acted appropriately. “The fact that she (Beeland) was resisting and not following commands being given by a uniformed officer, that means that officer eventually was going to get hurt.” Wow. So anytime a citizen does not follow a command, an officer will eventually be hurt unless they act to subdue the individual with a Taser shot? It is little surprising that Taser abuse occurs under Chitwood who seems to believe that noncompliance with an order is the same as a threat against an officer.
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