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Saturday, August 21, 2004


Deputies Taser Hurricane Victim Trying To Return Home
an ABC Action News report 8/18/04 -

FORT MYERS BEACH - The stress from Hurricane Charley and the aftermath is both understandable and expected, and evidence of that was caught on tape Monday afternoon in Fort Myers Beach.

A man driving with his three children tried to cross the Matanzas Pass Bridge to return to his home. Police wouldn't let him, and a bystander's camera was rolling as deputies used a taser gun to stun the man, reportedly in front of his three children.

The tape shows deputies and displaced residents getting into a heated shouting match. The residents complained that the deputies could not understand how frustrating it was to not be allowed home.

"Folks, we understand that," a uniformed deputy shouted as the tasered man lay behind him. "I haven't been home since Thursday!"

Another deputy stepped in to tell one frustrated resident, "You listen to me. We don't want you here," before adding, "Shut up," over his pleas of "We live here."

Eventually, a National Guard member stepped in to calm the angry exchange.

Meanwhile, the tasered man was arrested and charged with failure to obey a lawful order. He later called WINK-TV in Fort Myers and explained that his insurance company told him they would not pay for damages to his home if he didn't take steps to cover and protect the property.

Wednesday, the sheriff of Lee County defended the actions of his deputies and other officials, and the level of force used.

"He was refusing to turn around, still had his car in park, and was very belligerent to our officers and to the military," Sheriff Rod Shoap said. "No matter how we talked to him, he was yelling at us, cursing at our officers, and trying to incite a group of citizens across the street into trying to get involved. And they were."

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