Footage has emerged showing a Florida cop tasing man with his hands up as he stood just inside the door of his home.
Zephyrhills police officer Tim Claussen went to the home of 42-year-old Lester Brown on the evening of Sept. 9 to investigate a shoplifting that took place earlier that day.
The footage, recorded by Claussen’s body-cam, shows the officer order Brown to exit his home as the man raises his arms and pleads to the officer that he is innocent.
“Come outside now,” Claussen says before drawing his taser and aiming it at the man. “You’re about to get tased. This is the last time.”
The footage shows Brown continue to hold his hands up, saying he didn’t know what the officer wanted him for – before Claussen can be seen firing the taser – hitting Brown in the abdomen.
The man is then seen falling to the floor.
Watch the raw footage:
At a news conference on Friday, city attorney Joseph Poblick said an internal investigation launched to review the incident determined that Claussen’s “deployment of the taser was unjustified.”
Police commanders said they learned of the incident while reviewing daily reports and first placed Claussen on leave before terminating him from his position at the department on Wednesday.
“It certainly hurts to [fire an officer,] but I’m here to do the right thing for the community,” Zephyrhills police Chief David Shears said. “We’re trained to know when to deploy the taser.”
According to police reports, stolen items were found in Brown’s possession and he was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of retail theft, before being taken to Florida Hospital Zephyrhills, and booked into the Pasco County jail.
The charge against Brown was later dropped however by the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office, after prosecutors viewed the body-cam footage, records show.
After his arrest, Brown complained of dizziness and shoulder pain he says is related to the fall he took in the incident, but it is not yet clear if the man plans to file any litigation against the department.