A Florida police officer is being charged for allegedly burning four people and hospitalizing two others after igniting a gas pump with a taser, one of the victim’s attorney’s announced Thursday.
Three Osceola deputies attempted to arrest a motorcyclist Jean Barreto, 26, in February while he was filling his motorcycle with gas. One of the deputies reportedly drew a taser which ignited a fire, injuring all four of them, WESH 2 reported.
Earlier this year, surveillance video was released that showed the end of an apparent pursuit between a motorcycle rider and Osceola County deputies at a Wawa gas station in Florida, where a fire erupted shortly after. https://t.co/Q3wExA4XVq
— FOX 35 Orlando (@fox35orlando) May 19, 2022
Barreto was reportedly with a group of motorcyclists who were driving recklessly and allegedly pointing a gun at other drivers. Barreto allegedly fled to the Wawa on Central Florida Parkway where the officers attempted to arrest him, according to WESH 2. (RELATED: Police Chief Wants Two Officers Fired For Improper Tasing)
Officials said that both Barreto and the deputy who drew the taser during the arrest will be charged in the incident, but Barreto’s attorney Mark NeJame said that any charges against him would be unjustified. NeJame added that, “any pursuit had ended, was a grossly excessive, unwarranted, and horrific abuse of police conduct and authority,” according to the outlet.
NeJame and Barreto’s other attorney Albert Yonfa, claimed surveillance footage from Wawa shows one of the officers tackled him from behind while pumping gas. The two other officers pull up and one fires the taser starting the fire, WESH 2 reported.
The attorneys questioned Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez as to why one of his deputies drew a taser while Barreto was pumping gasoline and why the sheriff’s office has not yet put out a news release such as body cam footage, according to WESH 2.
Barreto was not expected to survive and was hospitalized for 80 days while being treated for third-degree burns that covered over 75% of his body. Two of the deputies were treated and released while the third sustained third-degree burns on his lower extremities and was hospitalized, according to the outlet.