In Pinellas Park, Florida, Daniel Jensen wasn’t running from the law, he was trying to protect his home from burning. Yet, the police tasered him in the process. Jensen and his attorney say it was an excessive use of police force.
Still shaken and visibly emotional as he retold what happened two weeks ago, Jensen said being tasered by police has not only impacted him, but it also shocked his children, who saw it all happen. He described the officers’ actions as brutal. And he adds they showed no human compassion:
“All I remember is lying in water, being electrocuted (by the police) for saving my home,” said Jensen.
Four days later, burns on his body were still marked where the stun gun’s probes targeted him. He says they tasered him for reacting and doing what any man would do to protect his family’s home from an out-of-control grease fire.
The father of two recalls his wife waking him around 6 in the evening, saying there’s a big fire at the neighbors’ house.
“I could hear it, I could feel it,” he remembered.
“Then he ran outside and grabbed a fire extinguisher. He sprayed it all over until it was empty, to prevent the fire from reaching his own house.
“I was calling for my daughter and getting no response. I came out, grabbed the hose and sprayed her room until I heard she was out,” said Jensen.
He continued to recount the events. He said he then took the garden hose and started watering down his fence and the back corner of his rooftop, trying to prevent the fire from spreading. But with each attempt, Daniel said the officers kept pulling him back… even though the firefighters had not yet arrived.
“They kept telling me to let it go, that’s what insurance is for, and that’s not acceptable to me,” said Jensen.
Captain Sanfield Forseth with the Pinellas Park Police Department said officers could have charged him with obstruction of justice, for not listening to an officer’s order.
“I wasn’t doing that. . . I was doing [ ] what any homeowner would do to protect a family and a home,” said Jensen.
Captain Forseth said the department will not be charging him.
When Jensen saw the fire jump on to his back roof, he again grabbed the hose. That’s when he said — unknown to him — a police officer pulled out a Taser gun and brutally fired it at his back.
“As I went to grab the hose, I hear an officer on this side. There was a boat here, he was just behind it. He said, ‘Hit him, hit him! Take him down, tase him!’.
“I didn’t know if they were talking to me, or about me. I was concerned about putting water on the fire, and the next thing you know I’m being hit.”
Daniel said a Sergeant ordered an officer to tase him, but the officer never warned him as department policy requires.
According to Pinellas Park Police policy, an officer will use a Taser gun when other control techniques would likely result in a physical confrontation that may cause injury to the officer or person. But the officer must first give a verbal warning that he is going to use the device.
After tasing Daniel, he said several officers picked him up, carried him to the front yard, threw him on the ground and handcuffed him.
“They should have more tolerance with the public, to exhaust all options before firing electricity into somebody, (like) handcuff them instead of tasering them.”
His attorney is now considering legal action against the Pinellas Park Police Department.
If this happens to you, immediately call attorney Keith Weidner, a Civil Rights lawyer!
Note from the editor: Tasers guns deliver 50,000 volts that usually temporarily immobilize suspects so officers can gain control.