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Officer acquitted of assault charges in Taser incident

August 6, 2022 GMT

PETERSBURG. Va. (AP) — A Petersburg police officer has been acquitted of assault charges stemming from his use of a Taser on a man who reportedly was seen walking the streets carrying guns.

The RIchmond Times-Dispatch reports that retired Judge James Yoffy on Thursday found Lt. Jason Sharp, 50, not guilty of two misdemeanor assault charges and one count of making false statements in a police report.

Yoffy ruled that Sharp’s use of his police-issued Taser on William Antonio Scott was “reasonable and appropriate” under the circumstances.

Sharp and Petersburg Officer Jonai Jackson went to Scott’s home on Oct. 4 to investigate a 911 call about an armed man walking the streets with several weapons.

Before arriving, the officers were informed that Scott had previously been violent and resisted arrest, that he was a two-time convicted felon and was mentally unstable, said defense attorney Doug Ramseur.

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Upon arrival, Jackson ordered Scott to come out with his hands up, according to police body-cam footage.

Scott began walking down the porch steps toward Sharp, telling him to “Get the f- —” off his property. Sharp then fired his Taser at Scott, striking him, according to the footage.

After Scott appeared to have recovered from the Taser shock, and when he began to move around, Sharp fired his Taser again, hitting Scott a second time.

Scott then complied and put his hands behind his back to be handcuffed. He received minor injuries.

Powhatan Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Cerullo, who was appointed special prosecutor in the case, argued that Sharp’s use of the Taser was unnecessary and excessive.

Ramseur said Sharp was suspended without pay after he was indicted in November, and is looking forward to returning to work.