Florida cop suspended after shooting black woman in back with stun gun

A Tallahassee, Fla., woman was shot in the back with a taser by a police officer after he attempted to take her into custody. The incident was captured on video. 

Tallahassee Police Departmen
An image from an amateur video of a Tallahassee police officer firing a stun gun at the back of a black woman.

 A Florida police officer has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal affairs investigation after he fired a stun gun into a 62-year-old black woman's back during an arrest in a Tallahassee neighborhood, police said.

Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo called a news conference early Wednesday to announce the investigation after authorities obtained a video capturing the Tuesday afternoon incident that was shot by a citizen on a nearby porch.

"Based on the video, I have enough concerns to call for an internal investigation," DeLeo said. "We will conduct a thorough investigation into this incident. We want to be transparent with the community by sharing what we can at this point, including the video."

DeLeo added that, "The investigation will determine if the officer's actions were legal and if those actions were consistent with the expectations I have set for our officers in terms of how we respect and treat our citizens."

The Tallahassee Democrat reported that "the incident is the latest to raise questions about the Tallahassee Police Department's use-of-force tactics. Earlier this month, Tallahassee city commissioners voted to settle a federal lawsuit for $475,000 brought by Christina West, a Tallahassee woman who suffered broken bones and other injuries during her DUI arrest in August 2013."

According to police, the officers were responding to recent complaints from citizens about drug deals in the neighborhood. The woman, Viola Young, approached one of the police cars parked on the narrow street to inquire about one of the people — two women and a man — who had been arrested.

The officer standing outside the squad car advised the woman to stay back. Police said that's when Officer Terry Mahan walked over to Young and attempted to take her into custody. 

In the amateur video, which is laced with expletives, Young grabs her arm, she slips away and starts walking away from the officer when he uses his stun gun, striking her in the back. She falls face-first to the ground. Officers surrounded her and eventually helped her to her feet and walked her to a squad car, the video shows. Police didn't release the name of the person who shot the video.

Police said Young was medically cleared by paramedics and taken to the Leon County Jail. It wasn't immediately known whether she has a lawyer or what she was charged with.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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