Featured Stories

Florida deputy charged after his Taser ignited a fireball at a gas station during an arrest

An Osceola County Sheriff’s deputy is charged with a misdemeanor for deploying his Taser near a gas pump during an arrest takedown in February.

The massive fireball burned the suspect and the deputy at the Osceola County Wawa.

Surveillance video shows the flames engulfing both the suspect, 26-year-old Jean Baretto, and Osceola County sheriff’s deputy, David Crawford.

According to the sheriff’s office, Baretto was allegedly part of a group of armed motorcyclists driving recklessly and allegedly pointing a gun at other drivers.
Deputies say Baretto fled and was followed tracked down by the sheriff’s helicopter to the Wawa gassing up his bike.
Officials say Baretto and the deputy that deployed the Taser will both be charged in the incident.
Sheriff Lopez describes the misdemeanor culpable negligence charge against the deputy as “uncommon.”
“He was aware there was gas in the immediate area, he says ‘kill the pump, there’s gas,’ he then grabbed a discarded taser and told the suspect, ‘you’re about to get tased again dude,'” Lopez said. “His actions were reckless and the disregard for life rises to the level of culpable negligence.”
But, during the takedown, Baretto’s bike fell over and the fuel spilled out.  That’s when the officer deployed his Taser setting off the fireball.

Osceola Sheriff Marcos Lopez said in a news conference on Thursday that no gun was found on Baretto.

Sheriff Lopez asked the Fire Marshal’s Office and Osceola County Sheriff’s Department to investigated the incident right after it happened in February.

However, he did not present it to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement because a firearm was not used, instead a taser, “less lethal” force, was used by the officer.

Lopez said the department’s investigation found that Baretto should be charged with “fleeing and attempting to elude law enforcement, reckless driving and resisting without violence.”

Deputy Crawford will be placed on paid leave.

The sheriff says he’s keeping the injured rider in his thoughts but says he must enforce the laws.

Baretto’s attorney says no crime was committed by the rider and he is now suffering from severe burns and is in extreme pain as a result of the fiery arrest.

“We’re not saying anything other than let’s get the truth out, and it’s not out,” attorney Mark NeJame said.

NeJame went on to say that Lopez now coming out with charges against his client is an attempt to “detract from his and his department’s culpability, liability, and responsibility.”

“If he does choose to bring these false criminal charges, they will be considered retaliatory, unjustified, and vindictive,” he said.

The attorney says Barreto is fighting for his life and has completed his first round of painful skin grafting.