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Police Tasered Teen Repeatedly

A police brutality complaint was filed over a Miami-Dade officer's repeated use of a stun gun on a teen car theft suspect, whose version of the story contradicted hers

Nov 24, 2004 | Miami Herald

Miami-Dade police said Tuesday that an officer fired her Taser stun gun repeatedly at a 16-year-old car theft suspect, including two electrical discharges administered after he had been knocked to the ground but continued to resist.

The incident, which took place Nov. 17 in South Miami-Dade County after the teen was caught driving a stolen car, prompted a police brutality complaint on Monday. Police said the teen was Larue Stokes III of Homestead.

While the police statement confirmed Stokes' allegations that he was zapped several times while on the ground it did not say when he was handcuffed. Stokes claimed an unidentified female detective zapped him after the restraints were placed on his wrists.

In their account of the incident, police said the use of the Taser, which delivers a 50,000-volt charge, was justified. According to their statement, detectives chased Stokes and two others after the three bailed out of a stolen car near Southwest 236th Street and 127th Avenue. Stokes ran into some woods, ignoring commands to stop.

The woman detective fired her Taser at him, but the two electrical probes that carry the charge didn't make a connection. She reloaded and fired again, this time striking the teen in his chest, according to the police account.

Stokes ''was ordered to place his hands behind his back, but refused and continued to resist,'' the police statement said. ''Again he was ordered to place his hands behind his back. ''He yelled an obscenity at the officers and attempted to crawl farther into the bushes, the report said.

Police said Stokes was 'Tased at least two more times before he complied with the officers' demands to stop resisting.''

Other discrepancies emerged between Stokes' version and the police version.

Stokes, in an interview with The Herald on Monday, said he was fired upon after a male officer tackled him. He said he was lying motionless on his side when the officer instructed his female partner to use the weapon.

Stokes' father said Tuesday he didn't find the police account credible, and he denied his son didn't respect officers' commands.

''How are you going to be shot in the chest while you're running away?'' said Larue Stokes Sr.

The elder Stokes accused police of being overzealous in their use of the weapons.

''Ever since they got these toys, they don't want to use the skills they were given in law enforcement school,'' he said.

Stokes was charged with grand theft and resisting arrest without violence. Akebo Lover, 19, of Florida City, and an unidentified 17-year-old were also arrested.

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