A video posted on YouTube this weekend shows what appears to be a Florida Highway Patrol officer tasering an elderly man with his hands up.
The video, reportedly filmed on the way to Key West, shows two angry patrolmen pulling an unidentified old man from his minivan during a traffic stop. One officer then shoots the senior citizen with his Taser even as the man is peacefully surrendering.
UPDATE: "The incident is currently under investigation," according to FHP spokeswoman Captain Nancy Rasmussen, who declined to release more details. Anyone with information on the incident is encouraged to contact New Times.
Little is known about the incident captured in the video, which was uploaded to YouTube yesterday with the caption: "My uncle posted this video to facebook Feb 22nd 2015. They were on the way to Key West. The woman is my Aunt."
(The original video has been removed from YouTube. However, an edited version has since been uploaded.)
The video begins with a state trooper shouting at the window of a minivan somewhere along U.S. 1 on the way to the Keys.
As a man films the episode, a woman off-camera says in a northern U.S. or Canadian accent: "Get out of the car. Oh jeez. They are not getting out of the car. The guy on the other side, on the driver's side, is going a bit bananas, no?
"The police here are heavy-handed," she says. When a young girl in the videographer's car asks what's going on, the woman says, "They are trying to get these people of this car, sweetie. I don't know why. It's kind of weird."
An FHP officer tugs on the door handle of the minivan, but it doesn't open. Finally, it swings wide and an old man with thinning hair and glasses nervously sticks his hands in the air.
"Oh, God," the woman watching says. "He's just an old man!"
One officer spins the old man -- who appears to be holding a black cell phone -- and shouts, "On the ground!"
The other officer, in an FHP hat, shouts either "Let him go!" or "Let it go!" and then deploys his Taser on the man.
The old man can clearly be heard screaming in pain as he falls hard to the concrete, the cell phone dropping from his hand.
"Oh, my God. They tasered him!" the woman gasps in disbelief before asking, "Is he alive?"
The officers then handcuff the old man, who appears to be passed out.
"I hope we don't get harassed because I'm recording this," the videographer says before shutting off the camera.
The video is the second tasering to make headlines in the Keys this year. Key Largo teenager Roberto Ornelas died in early January after being shot with a Taser New Year's Day.
Like that incident, this tasering is sure to be controversial. The company that makes the weapons, Taser International, warns against using its devices on the elderly.
Most law enforcement agencies have rules prohibiting the weapon's use on seniors and, generally, subjects who are peacefully cooperating with commands.
However, a recent investigation by New Times revealed that many South Florida cops had misused their Tasers by needlessly shocking subjects -- some of whom died.
New Times has also uncovered several instances of local cops using their Tasers and then covering it up.
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