A Florida cop was fired after he recorded himself repeatedly tasering a man inside his home who had his hands up.
The video was recorded from the very same taser Zephyrhills police officer Tim Claussen was using on Lester Brown.
“You just made it a lot worse on yourself, Mr. Brown,” Claussen told Brown, who was accused of shoplifting from a nearby department store.
“Why,” said Brown, lying on his stomach, “cause I’m in my house?”
The incident took place September 9. Claussen was fired Wednesday. He had been a cop for 10 years.
Zephyrhills police said the tasering was unjustified. They said they came across the video during daily reviews.
According to the Tampa Bay Times:
The Zephyrhills Police Department fired its officer amid increasing national scrutiny of police conduct and how officers use force to subdue suspects — particularly black suspects.
Claussen, 36, is white and Brown, 42, is black. Police officials, however, said race was not a factor in the incident.
“We didn’t see any evidence that it was racially motivated in any way,” Capt. Derek Brewer said.
Nor, the captain said, was Claussen fired out of fear that the incident might spark public outcry. Over the past year, police use of force against blacks has incited protests across the country with activists accusing officers of unequal treatment and racial bias.
“We recognized that there was an issue and that’s why we acted quickly,” Brewer said. “Given the circumstances of this incident, I feel like it was the right decision.”
Although police said they found five stolen clothing items worth $112.97 on him or on his property, they asked the state attorneys to drop the charges, which is a rare move but maybe they believe Brown has suffered enough.