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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida police officer has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal affairs investigation after he fired a stun gun into a 61-year-old woman's back during an arrest in a Tallahassee neighborhood.
Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo called a news conference early Wednesday morning to announce the investigation after authorities obtained a video capturing the Tuesday afternoon incident that was shot by someone on a nearby porch.
"Based on the video, I have enough concerns to call for an internal investigation," DeLeo said. "We will conduct a thorough investigation into this incident. We want to be transparent with the community by sharing what we can at this point, including the video."
According to police, the officers were responding to recent complaints from citizens about drug deals in the neighborhood located just a few blocks west of the governor's mansion. The woman, Viola Young, approached one of the police cars parked on the narrow street to inquire about one of the people — two women and a man — who had been arrested.
The officer standing outside the squad car advised the woman to stay back. Police said that's when Officer Terry Mahan approached Young and attempted to take her into custody.
In the video, Young appears to be walking away when the officer uses his stun gun, striking her in the back. She falls face-first to the ground. Officers surrounded her and eventually helped her to her feet and walked her to a squad car, the video shows. Police didn't release the name of the person who shot the video, but he can be heard saying on the video: "done tased a lady for nothing."
Police said Young was medically cleared by paramedics and taken to the Leon County Jail.
She was charged with resisting and obstructing an officer without violence, a first-degree misdemeanor.
In his police report, Mahan said that after he told people to stay back she "responded by yelling, 'I just want to know what is going on.'" Mahan said Young refused to leave and he told her she was under arrest. He said she yanked away from him when he attempted to grab her arm.
When reached by phone on Wednesday, Young said she has been advised by her attorney to not discuss the incident.
The incident comes at a time when Tallahassee police have come under scrutiny. Last month, the city agreed to pay $475,000 to settle a case over the arrest of a woman who ended up with a broken bone in her face after an altercation with officers.
Video from last year's arrest of Christina West showed officers slamming her into a police car before throwing her to the ground. West can be heard screaming in the video. A grand jury decided against charging the officers in that incident but ripped Tallahassee police for how they handled the arrest.
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