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Zephyrhills officer fired over use of stun gun

Posted: 5:54 PM, Oct 02, 2015
Updated: 2015-10-02 17:54:14-04
Zephyrhills officer fired over use of stun gun
A Zephyrhills Police Department officer was fired Wednesday after an internal investigation concluded his use of a stun gun on a retail theft suspect was excessive.
 
Officer Tim Claussen fired his stun gun while the suspect showed no “active physical resistance” during a Sept. 9 incident, according to Zephyrhills Police Department.
 
In video taken by the stun gun and released by the agency, the officer orders the suspect out but he calmly refuses with his hands raised. The suspect has his hands raised when the stun gun apparently strikes him. He then moves back and to the ground, placing his hands behind his back.
 
Watch the video in the player above
 
The incident occurred at the suspect’s home while Claussen investigated a retail theft, according to a statement from police. The next day a captain discovered a report on the incident and asked for clarification, leading to an internal investigation.
 
After a press conference Friday morning, there are still few answers about what really happened in this investigation.
 
ABC Action News asked police leaders why Claussen felt the need to use the taser in the first place.
 
"I don’t know his justification for the use at this time," said Capt. Derek Brewer, of Zephyrhills Police.
 
“The review of the video from the officer’s ECD/Taser camera clearly shows the subject was displaying no ‘active physical resistance’ toward the officer and therefore not requiring the level of force used by the officer,” the agency said in a written statement.
 
‘It certainly hurts to do what I had to do yesterday. but I'm here to do the right thing for our community," said Police Chief David Shears.
 
When asked if Claussen's termination means what he did was wrong, the chief gave a short answer.
 
“I'm not going to come out and say anything more beside it being sustained and termination was followed through," Shears said.
ABC Action News also asked what general police procedures should be prior to an officer using a stun gun on a suspect.
 
“We’re not going to be able to answer that question. I like said, it’s an ongoing investigation," said Joseph Poblick, city attorney for the city of Zephyrhills.
 
“We want to impress upon the public that this incident is not indicative of the Zephyrhills Police Department and we hold ourselves to the highest standards while serving the community,” the statement concludes.