There is a call to ban tasers in Pensacola after a series of injuries and fatalities linked to the use of the weapons. In one of the most controversial cases, Victor Steen, 17, died after being first tasered by an officer and then run over by his cruiser. For the video, click here. A judge has ruled, however, that the officer responsible committed no crime in the death of Steen.
Officer Jerald Ard spotted the teen is a vacant construction site and ordered him to stop. When the teen took off on his bike, the officer pursued him and fired a taser at Steen through his car window in 2009. He then ran over the boy with his cruiser — killing him.
Here are excerpts from Ard’s disciplinary report. The report includes the following finding:
After reviewing the video evidence in this incident, I believe that the pursuit did expose the subject to unreasonable risk of harm or injury. At times in the pursuit, Officer Ard drove his cruiser so close to the suspect’s bike that it would have been difficult if not impossible for him to stop if the suspect fell from the bike. I also found it disturbing that Officer Ard attempted to tase the suspect on a bike as he rode next to him. If this action would have been successful, it is very possible that the suspect would have sustained serious injuries from the fall.
The teen was the fourth person who died in Florida in 2009 and the 57th such death since 2001. St. Petersburg was cited by Amnesty International as a city with the highest fatalities in the nation from such tasers.
The family is now filing a lawsuit in the matter.