DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A review is under way in the case of a Florida police officer who used a stun gun on a woman who had yelled at her.
Last month's incident began as Elizabeth Beeland, 35, tried to buy a CD player at an electronics store, and stepped outside to talk on her phone, leaving her credit card behind. A store clerk became suspicious, and suspected Beeland was using a stolen card. When police officer Claudia Wright approached, she said Beeland became "verbally profane" and "abusive."
Wright said she warned Beeland to calm down or face arrest. The officer hit Beeland in the stomach with the Taser darts and arrested her on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
In a video, the customer is seen backing away, then crumpling to the ground after being tasered.
Police later verified that Beeland was using her own credit card, but she was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting a police officer without violence. She has since pleaded not guilty.
Two sides to story, video
Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood defended the officer's actions, which he said avoided use of other weapons.
"Even if you look at the video, when the officer stepped toward her after announcing she's under arrest, she's flailing her arms and retreating from the officer," Chitwood said. "Police work isn't pretty. It doesn't look pretty, but from where we sit, interviewing civilian witnesses and people may or may not agree, but she followed our policy, she followed FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement) guidelines."
Cop Watch's George Crosley sees the incident in a different way. His group polices police actions. He said he is stunned by the store surveillance video.
"This is wrong, this shouldn't have happened that way," Crosley said. "When the officer starts toward her, you don't see her threatening the officer, you see her backing off with her hands up," he said. "If she couldn't figure out how to handle it, she should have called for back up. The truth of the matter is, people have died as a result of being tased."
State prosecutors are reviewing whether to pursue the case against Beeland. Beeland's attorney is also reviewing the incident.