A Florida police officer was fired after using a stun gun on a suspected suspect, instead of following de-escalation protocols, officials said.
St. Petersburg police officer Matthew Cavinder was relieved of his duties after using a stun gun on a suspect, which violated department records, an internal investigation showed. During an arrest on June 21, 2021, the suspect “did not physically resist” when Cavinder used his stun gun, St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway on Thursday, Fox 13 reported in Tampa Bay.
“I think I watched that video more than 20 times,” Chief Holloway said during a news conference where he recreated the scene with a stun gun, according to the report. “Today, I still can not explain why that officer went to his Taser. We train officers every year. Everyone in this police department is trained in de-escalation.”
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“There was no deescalation,” the police chief added, according to the report. “He went straight to his taser.”
During the June 2021 incident, Cavinder and his partner were sent to a Chevron gas station after its owner called police at a pan dealer who was reportedly on his way in, Fox 13 reported.
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The officers, who were wearing body cameras, arrived at the scene where they found Timothy Grant, 64, in a wheelchair and drove his name into their database. He had five active arrest warrants, so officers explained the previous charges and tried to detain him, according to the report.
When Grant did not immediately comply with the arrest, Cavinder pulled out his stun gun, the police chief described.
“What he did was place the Taser up against his body,” Chief Holloway explained, noting that he did not activate the tips – a technique he referred to as a “dry-stun.”
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Cavinder then wrote later in the arrest report that the victim resisted, according to the report. Chief Holloway explained, “Mr. Grant did not resist with violence.”
The internal investigation was launched by Cavinder’s supervisor, who was responsible for reviewing the incident using force – a policy of the police department, Chief Holloway explained – and reported it accordingly.
However, Cavinder is not likely to be charged as he showed no “intent”, Fox 13 reported.