LawCall - Police

Tallahassee, Florida police officers were dispatched to the scene of a disturbance just a few streets away from the governor’s mansion. Three people were arrested, but one curious neighbor was shot with a stun gun.

62-year old Viola Young is shown on video walking towards the police cars and telling officers that she had some questions. The video was being shot by a neighbor using his cell phone.

One officer tells Young to stay back, but she continues to walk towards the cruisers, where the three suspects had been arrested and put into police cars. Another officer attempts to grab her by the arm but she pulls away from him.

As she appears to be walking away, the officer shoots Young in the back with his stun gun; she falls face-first onto the road. She was handcuffed, and taken to a police cruiser where she was medically cleared by paramedics and arrested for resisting arrest and obstructing an officer.

The first-degree misdemeanor could land her in jail for up to 12 months with a fine of up to a thousand dollars.

However, the actions of the officer who fired his stun gun are now in question, and he has been suspended with pay while the department investigates.

Tallahassee Police Chief, Michael DeLeo, says he has seen the video, and has enough concerns to call for an internal investigation. Voices in the video can be heard warning Young not to approach the officers, yet she keeps walking towards them.

This particular neighborhood was being investigated after neighbors complained of open-air drug deals on their streets. Officer Terry Mahan writes in his statement that Young was obstructing officers trying to do their job.

The question is – was the stun gun really necessary, or did the police go too far in their efforts to stop a person from making an already tense situation more dangerous?

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