LEE COUNTY, Fla. — A San Carlos Park family is looking to sue Florida Highway Patrol after a trooper tased a teen going to his girlfriend’s home. his comes as the state attorney’s office decided not to file charges against the teen.
Home surveillance captured Florida trooper George Smyrnios and 16-year-old Jack Rodeman.
In the video, Rodeman is seen holding his cellphone, and can be heard saying his girlfriend lives here.
According to the Smyrnios’ arrest report, there were reported robberies in the neighborhood earlier this year. He said Rodeman looked suspicious. It also says Rodeman was wearing a black hoodie and darted through bushes. His attorney Sawyer Smith said he doesn't think that’s suspicious.
“They’re kids! Kids walk to where they need to go, and kids cut through bushes. I’m 45 years old, and I cut through bushes to get to where I’m going when I’m walking. That’s what we do,” he said.
Smith says Rodeman is still feeling the aftermath of the tasing.
“Severe concussion. He has sharp pains through his neck, through his spine, headaches sensitivity to light - still occurring, as well as nausea,” he said.
Smyrnios tased Rodeman not once, but twice.
Law enforcement expert and Forensic Studies Professor at Florida Gulf Coast University Dr. David Thomas says Rodeman could’ve been cuffed after the first shock.
“The discharge of the taser the second time was excessive force,” he said. “You don’t beat somebody into submission. You don’t tase them into submission. Once they roll and they’re down, go down and get with them, and cuff them.”
Thomas says that trooper conducted an unlawful search, which uncovered Rodeman had marijuana.
He added Smyrnios violated FHP’s policy for taser use, which states it should only be used when there’s a sudden attack or active resistance. He says the teen he tased kept his hands visible, and passively resisted the trooper’s commands.
Thomas says Rodeman staying on his phone was an active of passive resistance, and did not warrant the use of a taser.
Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles said right after the incident, they opened an administrative review which is still going on.