A motorcyclist wants the taxpayer to pay $7 million in medical bills after he was tasered by a Florida sheriff’s deputy and nearly died.
On Thursday, Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputy David Crawford was formally charged by prosecutors with negligent negligence, more than a year after he verbally abused Jean Barretto Baerga last February while pumping gasoline.
Barretto Baerga, 26, had been pursued by officers after fleeing law enforcement responding to a report of a group of reckless motorcyclists.
The fire caused by Crawford’s stun gun left Barretto Baerga with severe burns on almost three quarters of his body. Crawford also suffered severe burns in the fire.
“They’re going to cost Osceola County taxpayers millions,” said Mark NeJame, attorney for Barretto Baerga. “There should be consequences, because how else can we prevent this type of activity from happening again?”
Jean Barretto Baergo was hospitalized last February after a verbal fire that burned 75 percent of his body
MP David Crawford has been formally charged with culpable negligence more than a year after berating Barretto Baergo
NeJame said his client had burns everywhere except his face because of the mask, his hands because he was wearing gloves, and his feet because of his shoes, they said fox 35.
The second- and third-degree burns resulted in $7 million in medical expenses.
“He barely survived,” NeJame said, according to the report Orlando Sentinel. “His life will always be in danger because of the enormous amount of scar tissue and the damage that has been done to his body.” … He is doing his best to get through life with the cards that have been given to him. “
Body camera footage of the 2022 incident showed Crawford attacking Barretto Baerga at the gas pump without reporting in advance.
A second deputy, Christopher Koffinas, pointed his stun gun at the victim, after which Crawford shouted at the backup officers to turn off the gas pump.
A few seconds later, as Barretto Baerga lay in a pool of gasoline, Crawford aimed his taser and said, “You’re going to be called names again, dude,” then fired.
The fire ignited immediately and the flames engulfed the motorcyclist.
Koffinas received a 40-hour unpaid ban for being the first to fire his stun gun, but has no criminal charges ahead of him.
NeJame, an attorney for Barretto Baerga, praised the prosecutor’s decision to charge. He praised the Office’s “continued professionalism and diligence in this matter.”
The charges were first announced by Sheriff Marcos López, but prosecutors have now formally charged the deputy.
Crawford was put on leave after the incident and was not fired a year later.
“We believe it appropriate for the criminal justice system to determine whether Deputy Crawford committed a crime which can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” sheriff’s officers said after the formal arraignment.
Crawford burns after the fact. In chilling bodycam footage, he can be seen screaming and rolling on the ground while trying to put out the fire in his legs
The charges against Crawford are the same as those announced by Sheriff Marcos López (pictured) last year. After the fire, López said at a town hall that he was not considering changing the tactics his force uses in making similar arrests in the future
After the fire, López said at a town hall that he was not considering changing the tactics his force uses in making similar arrests in the future.
When indictment recommendations against Crawford were announced last May, López said lawmakers believed Barretto Baerga fit the description of a man on a dirt bike who allegedly pointed a gun at a rider.
No gun was found on Barretto Baerga, although López claimed the victim may have “thrown” the gun.
NeJame asked both the US Department of Justice and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the Sheriff’s Office – neither of which took on the case.
NeJame attacked the sheriff’s office logs, saying, “If he (his client) drove recklessly, you charge him with reckless driving, but you don’t nearly kill someone and set them on fire.”
“You can’t let law enforcement run amok. They’re meant to be our protectors, not our detonators.”