AP NEWS

Orlando officer disciplined for using stun gun on bike rider

January 9, 2020 GMT

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A Florida police officer who used a Taser on a 19-year-old man fleeing on a bicycle was discipline on a use of force violation.

Orlando police Officer Peter Meier violated the agency’s policy on response to resistance, which prohibits officers from using a stun gun on someone riding a bicycle “except in cases of aggressive resistance,” according to an internal affairs document obtained by the Orlando Sentinel. Meier was given a written censure.

The man fell and skidded on the ground when he was hit by the stun gun on May 5, records show.

Meier told internal investigators he was driving when he saw the man pop a wheelie on the bike while riding though an intersection. The officer flashed his lights and called to the rider over his public address system, asking him to stop. He said the teen and two others who were with him “disregarded his lawful commands.”

In a police report, Meier wrote that he tried pulling in front of the teens three to five times, but they would ride around him.

Meier called for backup and got out of the car and ran toward the teen. Video from another officer’s body cam shows the teen bike around two police vehicles as he was chased into his apartment complex.

Meier shocked him with the stun gun, causing him to fall. He suffered scrapes on his arms and punctures on the abdomen where the stun gun probes struck him.

In his report Meier wrote that even though the teen slowed down as officers approached, he stood on the pedals which he thought indicated he “was about to get off his bike and flee further” into the apartment complex on foot.

He said he stunned the teen because he thought his “flight on foot was imminent to escape or fight.”

Authorities initially approved the use of force following a review after the incident. But a review of the body camera video prompted Lt. Andre Tankovich to investigate after he saw what he thought was a violation of use of force.

The teen was arrested on a charge of resisting an officer. A judge later withheld conviction on a lesser traffic infraction of failing to obey a police officer.