Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Fire - Giuseppe Arcimboldo, pinellas park florida man is tasered by police when he tries to stop a house fire in tampa bay florida
Arcimboldo, Fire, 1566
What would you do while waiting for firefighters to arrive as a fire attacks your home? You'd likely do exactly what a Tampa Bay Florida man did recently when he tried to stop the fire at his home from spreading to other homes by dousing it with a hose as he waited for firefighters. 
Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorneys would agree that you have a right to defend your home from fires. 
Maybe home owners should also have the right to defend their home from overzealous Pinellas Park Officers. Rather than help put out the fire, the officers bravely shot the home owner trying to stop the flames with a taser as described in press reports as follows:

"It was wrong... 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; however, he put himself and officers in danger when he refused to back down from fighting the fire.

Clearly neither the man nor the officers were in immediate danger as he hosed down his home. In fact hosing the house reduced the danger to the officers and to the neighbors. The officers knew they were not witnessing any crime such as arson, so in Florida the man could lawfully resist the officers as long as he used no violence.  
Without any immediate danger the officers were attempting to exercise authority which they did not have. No one must obey an officer who acts outside of his authority. But even if the officers believed there was danger and had acted within their authority to stop the man from hosing his home, use of a taser in that situation was far more force than was required under the circumstances. 
There have been 65 taser deaths in Florida caused by law enforcement officers, whose job should be to defend us and our homes. Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyers would argue that using a taser on the homeowner was irresponsible; the officers should be trained to use this dangerous weapon only against violent criminals when there is no other reasonable option.