A Florida police officer has been fired for repeatedly using his Taser on a Black man who was lying on the ground after being removed from a wheelchair.
St. Petersburg officer Matthew Cavinder was terminated by the city's police review board following the June 2021 incident involving 64-year-old Timothy Grant, which was captured on body-cam video.
"Investigators said the officer used it (the Taser) while the suspect was 'not physically resisting,' but then later wrote in his report that the suspect was resisting with violence," Fox 13 reports.
During a news conference announcing Cavinder's firing on Thursday, police Chief Anthony Holloway said: "I think I looked at that video over 20 times. Today, I still cannot explain why that officer went to his Taser. We train officers every year. Everyone at this police department is trained on de-escalation. There was no de-escalation. He went right to his taser."
Cavinder had responded to a Chevron station to issue a trespassing notice to a panhandler, according to police.
"The officer spoke with Grant, who was in a wheelchair, and learned he had outstanding warrants for failing to appear in court on other charges," according to the Tampa Bay Times, which reported that "the extent of Grant’s resistance was pulling back his arm when officers tried to handcuff him, according to body camera video of the arrest."
In the video, after Cavinder tells Grant he's arresting him, he appears confused and asks the officer to call his mother.
Cavinder threatens to use his Taser on Grant if he doesn't stand up. After Grant says he can't walk, Cavinder tells him to get on the ground.
"Grant lies down, continuing to ask why he’s being arrested, and Cavinder continues to threaten him with the Taser. The officers lift him back into a sitting position and try to pull Grant’s hands behind his back, but he pulls his right arm away," the newspaper reported. "After a few more seconds struggling with Grant’s right arm, Cavinder presses the Taser to Grant’s back and starts to use it on him. Grant yelps 'ow' several times and, after about 5 seconds, Cavinder stops. Cavinder uses the Taser three more times, for between 2 and 5 seconds each time, as Grant yells in pain. Then the video ends."
Cavinder arrested Grant on a charge of resisting an officer with violence, a felony. However, the charged was later reduced to a misdemeanor since he didn't hurt or threaten to hurt the officers.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will decide whether Cavinder, who had been with the department since March 2020, should keep his law enforcement certification.
Watch the video below.