KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida deputy who accidentally set a gasoline-covered motorcycle rider on fire with a stun gun is facing a misdemeanor charge, officials said Thursday.
Osceola County Sheriff Marcos López said during a news conference that the deputy is being charged with culpable negligence, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The sheriff also said the burned biker faces charges of reckless driving, fleeing law enforcement and resisting arrest.
Helicopter video shows the biker weaving through traffic on Feb. 27 before stopping at a gas station in neighboring Orange County, officials said. Osceola deputies followed the biker out of their jurisdiction because they believed he had been part of a group of bikers brandishing guns at people, the sheriff said.
The biker's motorcycle was knocked over during the arrest, spilling fuel, officials said. One of the deputies activated his stun gun while the biker was on the ground, soaked in the spilled gas. State fire marshals concluded that the stun gun caused the fire, leaving burns on 76% of the biker's body.
No gun was found on the biker, the sheriff said. Agency policy forbids the use of stun guns on suspects around flammable substances.
Lawyers for the biker have called on state and federal law enforcement to investigate the arrest and fire. The attorneys released a statement Thursday calling the arrest a “a grossly excessive, unwarranted, and horrific abuse of police conduct and authority.”