Skip to comments.Florida man describes being shot by police Taser as he sprayed fire with garden hose
Posted on 11/14/2012 8:00:59 PM PST by Altariel
PINELLAS PARK -- The fire was all around Dan Jensen.
He could see it. He could smell it. He could hear it.
It was close enough to touch. It was burning down his neighbor's house. It was creeping toward Jensen's own fence 10 feet away, and he started spraying the fire with his hose.
Police ordered Jensen to get back, and he complied.
But after a few minutes passed without firefighters arriving, a frustrated Jensen stepped forward and leaned down to grab the skinny gray garden hose once again.
That's when he heard the order.
"Hit 'em! Take him down! Tase him!"
Within moments, Jensen was on the ground. He felt electric.
"It was all over me," Jensen said. "Crawling all over me."
The 42-year-old commercial fisherman is still struggling to comprehend exactly how things deteriorated so quickly Thursday. He said he doesn't understand why police shot him with a Taser that night as he tried to battle a house fire at 3420 Beechwood Ter. N.
Jensen's family, friends and neighbors have been quick to defend him and accuse police of crossing a line.
"It was wrong," he said. "There's no way around it. I was fighting a fire. I wasn't fighting police. I thought they were here to help me. Instead, they hurt me."
Police said they can sympathize with the stress Jensen was under. But they said he put himself and officers in danger when he refused to back down from fighting the fire.
Pinellas Park Capt. Sanfield Forseth told the Tampa Bay Times authorities could have even charged Jensen with obstruction, but decided against it.
Jensen's attorney, Heidi Imhof, said she believes authorities are trying to deflect attention from their actions that night. She called the Taser use "excessive force."
"They can't just Taser anyone," she said. "He's an unarmed person on his private property trying to fight a fire."
Imhof said the officers had other options. They could have yanked Jensen away, she said, or just turned off the water.
The agency's policy says officers must issue a warning before using a Taser, "except when such warning could provide a tactical advantage to the subject."
Imhof said her client was never warned.
Jensen said he's "disappointed" in police.
He said that when they arrived on the scene, they told him to back off and let insurance take care of it. He did for a few minutes but grew impatient and irate. He picked up the hose again because he thought firefighters weren't getting there soon enough.
Officials told the Times it took six minutes for fire fighters to respond.
"That's my home," Jensen said Monday, his voice breaking. "That's my family."
“The 42-year-old commercial fisherman....”
“he put himself and officers in danger when he refused to back down from fighting the fire.”
Amazingly, the homeowner is in a profession that is much more dangerous than the police....Yet, we are supposed to feel continually sorry for the poor police officers putting themselves in danger.....
One that particularly has annoyed me recently is this: There is a federal law against transferring (especially prescription) medication from the labelled bottles they come in to other, unlabelled containers.
What this essentially means is that just about every person who has to take medications at various times during the day is a potential felon if they have one of those mtwtfss boxes that keeps pills separated by day so they can make sure they take their medication properly. This is one of the (allegedly) unintentional consequences of our insane war on drugs. The government needs to be informed that you simply can't legislate everything.
Indeed, unfortunately, much of the populace is distracted and they do not realize the vast extant of the problem.
Peace officers are decreasing in number, as LEOs increase.
This shift is a bad one for liberty.”
I am employed by the fire department of a larger municipality, but I work in a smaller surrounding community which contracts for their fire protection. They still have their own police department and jail. Their police chief is an amazing guy. He sets the tone for the department.
I wouldn't say that everything is perfect all of the time, but I do admire the work that the officers do and the way that they treat the public. When someone is in trouble I have seen almost all of them go out of their way to find a way to help. A few times we have gone so far out of our way to help that I was afraid that we might get in trouble. Fortunately, the police chief of their department administration of our fire department is tolerant of us stepping a little outside of our normal roles as long as they can see that we were motivated by kindness.
That is pretty sad. Really, the changes since 9/11/2001 have been just stunning. We have lost a ton of freedoms since 9/11 which is why I keep saying “the terrorists won”. They made us change every level of our lives from children’s schools right up to our military.
We would have won if we had just nuked a terrorist capital and then ignored them and went about our lives unchanged. Instead, they caused a loss of freedom in every aspect of our lives.
I can see how a person born as late as the 80s could see a dramatic change in the USA — so much freedom lost so rapidly.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.