*A Florida family is demanding answers after a Florida Highway Patrol trooper tased a biracial teen who was sitting on his girlfriend’s porch.
Here’s more from Wink News:
Trooper George Smyrnios was caught on surveillance video tasing 16-year-old Jack Rodeman more than once on the back deck of the teen’s girlfriend’s home, where he had permission to be. The surveillance video shows Jack outside of his girlfriend’s San Carlos Park home waiting for her to answer the door after texting her. According to the report Trooper Smyrnios tased him after “he failed to comply”.
Jack’s mother Kristina Rodeman said the encounter is yet another example of excessive use of force and she plans to sue the Florida Highway Patrol.
“I mean my son was just standing there on his phone. He wasn’t reaching in his pockets. The officer? There was no threat to that officer,” Kristina said. “I just don’t understand. I just don’t understand, and then for him to keep zapping my son after he hit like that. I just think something needs to be done.”
According to WINK News, the trooper’s report of the incident states that “the defendant described as a ‘suspicious person’ dressed in black pants, a black sweater/hoodie and black tennis shoes looked up and saw the trooper in his patrol car and immediately ‘darted’ and hid in thick shubbery.”
Kristina agrees that her son should’ve listened to the officer’s commands, but Smyrnios overreacted. “I know that my son probably would have admitted to anything at that point because he didn’t want to be zapped anymore.”
“My opinion… If that would have been a white boy walking down the street, he probably would have been flipped around,” Kristina said.
“I just want justice for my son. I want him to know that I am going to fight for him.”
“I told him, ‘you do the right thing, I always will fight for you, son.’ You just have to do the right thing,” she said.
Below is a statement from Florida Highway Patrol about the investigation:
“The Florida Highway Patrol is committed to public safety of citizens and property. In regards to the June 16, 2021 incident, a taser deployment occurred. An administrative review of the incident immediately commenced and remains ongoing. Upon completion, the results of the administrative review will become a public record.”
FHP trooper George Smyrnios repeatedly tased 16yo Jack Rodeman as he waited for his girlfriend on her back deck! Smyrnios hasn’t been suspended or punished for his unlawful actions against this teen who posed NO THREAT! He should be held accountable for his egregious actions! pic.twitter.com/WP3pBbjdfp
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) June 23, 2021
Smyrnios described in his report that the teen’s “behavior, demeanor, and body language appeared to be a burglar.”
“My question is what does a burglar look like? Unless you catch somebody, like, prowling, there’s something that has to distinguish that. There’s nothing that distinguishes that other than being a Black kid in black clothing, that’s it,” said former officer Dave Thomas, who trains police officers on the use of force, per the report.
A day after the original arrest, FHP added a loitering and prowling charge. Jack was also charged with drug possession for having medical marijuana in his possession.
“The next day he brought more charges to my son which is loitering and prowling but at first it was resisting without violence and possession of marijuana,” Kristina said.
“So they amended the charge because they’re trying to go back and cover their bases,” Thomas said.
Jack is still in jail, where he’ll remain for 21 days, according to the report.